/ Key decisions expected on Cyprus Airways
THE GOVERNMENT'S decision to liberalise air travel in response to the 48-
hour strike by Cyprus Airways pilots union Pasipy, was yesterday's main
_ reported that the government was determined to take drastic measures to
protect the Cyprus economy from the consequences of the strike. Decisions
were due to be taken at the Council of Ministers today. The Ministry of
Communications, meanwhile, liberalised air travel for the duration of the
strike, opening up the protected routes -- between Larnaca and Athens,
London and Tel Aviv -- to all airlines.
Immediately after the government's announcement, a spokesman for easyJet
airline, which belongs to a Cypriot, said that his company planned to put
flights on the Larnaca-Athens route for a fare of 36 pounds. Easy Jet's
announcement was likely to soften any public opposition to the
liberalisation of air travel, the paper concluded.
_ claimed there were many behind-the-scenes contacts aimed at ending the
strike. One compromise deal discussed was for a 10-day truce during which
the pilots would call off the 48-hour strike and Eurocypria would not
announce any promotions of pilots. The effort collapsed after President
Clerides demanded assurances that the pilots wopuld not go on strike during
In the meantime, the few pilots who do not belong to the main union Pasipy,
had come under intense pressure to work while their colleagues were on
strike. Pasipy warned that the dispute would take a turn for the worse if
their colleagues turned up for work.
_ claimed that the UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan, had left the window
open for the recognition of the pseudo-state and for confederation in his
latest report to the Security Council on his good offices mission in
Cyprus. Omitting mention of a bizonal, bi-communal federation and the term
'communities' he raised the issue of political equality and, indirectly,
satisfied Rauf Denktash's demand for 'acknowledgement' of the pseudo-state.
He noted that peace efforts had become caught up in "legalistic, abstract
notions" and urged the two sides to focus their attention on the content of
a settlement. From the report, it was apparent that Annan considered the
refugee issue closed as he had not included in the issues under discussion
which were security, property and territory.
_ said that the UN was looking for guarantees, ensuring that the planned
initiative on Cyprus would not end in failure. During her last meeting with
President Clerides, UN representative Ann Hercus did not say whether Annan
would invite the two sides to negotiations, because the Secretary-general
first wanted to know that these would not end in deadlock.
The reason for Annan's cautious stance was related to the negative position
of the Turkish side, which demands the recognition of the north before
sitting down at negotiations. The international community, meanwhile, was
putting pressure on Annan, thus restricting his options.
_ said that the report by National Guard chief General Demetris Demou about
the low quality of senior-ranking officers had caused anger among the
hierarchy while the minister of defence tried to play down its
significance. The report accompanied the new regulations prepared by the
general for the evaluation of Guard officers.
The main feature of the regulations is the provision for the release of any
officers who cannot perform the duties expected of their rank. The
regulations have also tried to limit "the subjective evaluation" of
officers to a minimum.
© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999