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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-02-09

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Cyprus - Greece - Missiles deal
  • [02] Leftwing parties - London
  • [03] Israelis - No Appeal
  • [04] President - British High Commissioner
  • [05] Women Pilots - World Convention
  • [06] President - Vassiliou - EU
  • [07] Spokesman - Clinton - Blair

  • 0930:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Cyprus - Greece - Missiles deal

    by Myria Antoniadou

    Athens, Feb 9 (CNA) -- Cyprus and Greece signed yesterday a deal to enable the Russian anti-aircraft missile system S300 to be deployed on the Greek island of Crete.

    Defence Ministers Yiannakis Chrysostomis of Cyprus, currently visiting the Greek capital and Akis Tsohatzopoulos of Greece, signed the agreement late last night in Athens.

    Chrysostomis will be in Moscow on Monday for talks with the Russian firm which makes and sells the surface-to-air S300 missiles to discuss the deal.

    While in Moscow, the Cypriot Defence Minister will also have talks with his Russian counterpart Igor Sergeyev.

    Cyprus ordered the missiles in early 1997 for purely defensive purposes to counteract Turkey's massive military machinery in the island's northern areas, which Turkish troops occupy since they invaded in 1974, and face any new offensive against the free areas of the Republic.

    The Cypriot delegation to Moscow appears optimistic that talks in Russia will be successfully concluded.

    In December last year, Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides decided not to deploy the missiles in Cyprus, a move widely welcomed by the international community.

    Cyprus and Greece agreed the missiles would be deployed in Crete. Meanwhile, yesterday in Athens, Tsohatzopoulos hosted a dinner for his Cypriot counterpart during which both ministers expressed satisfaction with their discussions earlier in the day and stressed the importance of a joint Greco-Cypriot joint defence pact, agreed between the two governments in November 1993.

    Chrysostomis returns from Athens on Wednesday.

    CNA MA/MM/GP/1999

    [02] Leftwing parties - London

    Nicosia, Feb 9 (CNA) -- Leftwing parties of Cyprus, Greece and Turkey will discuss the Cyprus issue during a meeting on Saturday (February 13), in London.

    Attending the conference will be Cyprus' leftwing party AKEL (Greek Cypriot), the Turkish Cypriot parties Republican Turkish Party and Patriotic Unity Movement, the Greek Communist Party and the Left Coalition and the Turkish Freedom and Solidarity party.

    According to an AKEL press release issued here today, the London meeting will be a continuation of a Cyprus problem debate, which opened among those parties in Constantinople (Istanbul) last May.

    The meeting will take place at the Cyprus Communal Centre in London and will deal with the latest developments in the Cyprus question and ways of intervention of those parties in efforts to promote a settlement.

    On Sunday (February 14) the party representatives will attend a joint gathering of Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

    AKEL will be represented at the meeting by its parliamentary spokesman Andreas Christou and Andros Kyprianou, a member of AKEL's Political Bureau and Head of the Central Committee's International Relations Department.

    CNA MK/GP/1999

    [03] Israelis - No Appeal

    Nicosia, Feb 9 (CNA) -- Two Israelis, serving a three-year jail sentence in Cyprus, will not appeal against their sentence, even if they consider it "severe", their lawyer Antis Triantafyllides has said.

    Speaking to CNA today, Triantafyllides explained that he advised his clients not to file an appeal to the Supreme Court "because it has no chance of success."

    Udi Hagov, 37 and Igal Damari, 49, were sentenced to three years in jail for approaching a prohibited military area in November last year and were also given six months in prison for possessing banned listening equipment without the permission of the Cypriot authorities. Their sentences run concurrently.

    Both were arrested by police in early November after a tip off. Initial charges of espionage were dropped by the prosecution and the two pleaded guilty to the two charges they were convicted for.

    "The Assize Court decision was correct in legal terms and the ruling presented the facts of the case in the right context, therefore the appeal would not have succeeded," Triantafyllides said.

    He pointed out that the austerity of the sentence imposed is not sufficient ground for an appeal and explained that the Court would have demanded to see a mistake in the Court ruling and there is no error.

    Replying to questions, he said his clients accepted his legal advice, in spite of the fact that they think their sentence is very harsh.

    Asked if there was any other legal avenue to follow for reducing the sentence, Triantafyllides said at present there was none.

    The issue of a presidential pardon is normally examined after convicted persons serve part of their sentence and show good behaviour.

    He also said the two Israelis are well and often have visits from members of their families.

    CNA MM/GP/1999

    [04] President - British High Commissioner

    Nicosia, Feb 9 (CNA) -- Britain continues to back fully the ongoing UN process aiming at reducing tensions on the island and making headway towards a settlement of the protracted Cyprus question, British High Commissioner David Madden said here today.

    In brief remarks after a meeting here today with President Glafcos Clerides, Madden said he came to see the President "to demonstrate our full support for the UN process which is being taken forward on island by Dame Ann Hercus (UN resident representative)."

    He also said his meeting aimed at showing that Britain will continue to work for the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1218, as already stated.

    Today's meeting comes in the wake of a diplomatic controversy caused by comments by Britain's envoy for Cyprus, Sir David Hannay, who appeared almost dismissive of the President's moves expressing full backing of the Council's resolutions.

    Hannay also said there should be no expectations from Turkey in response to the President's decision to cancel the deployment of Russian surface-to-air missiles in Cyprus and instead send them to the Greek island of Crete.

    Resolution 1218, adopted in December last year, calls for more work to reduce the level of all troops and armaments on Cyprus, to try and reduce tension and work to achieve substantive progress on the core aspects of a comprehensive Cyprus settlement.

    Turkish troops have been occupying 37 per cent of Cyprus territory since 1974, in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdrawal.

    CNA MM/GP/1999

    [05] Women Pilots - World Convention

    by Maria Myles

    Nicosia, Feb 9 (CNA) -- Cyprus will host for the first time the annual convention of the International Society of Women Airline Pilots (ISA+21) in mid May, with the participation of more than 150 delegates, who will gather at the western coastal resort of Coral Beach, near the city of Pafos, Cyprus' first woman pilot Natasa Papadopoulou has said.

    In an interview with CNA, Papadopoulou, Cyprus' first woman pilot, explained the importance of bringing to the island this meeting and outlined the difficulties she encountered in her effort to have the meeting convene here.

    "When I first mentioned Cyprus, many colleagues had no idea where or what my country was. Now they are coming here to see for themselves. It took a lot of work and even more persuasion to convince last year's convention in the United States that Cyprus is a safe and suitable place to host our annual gathering", she explained.

    She said the annual convention takes place outside the US once every three years, and this makes its convening in Cyprus even more poignant.

    Papadopoulou is one of only two Cypriot women pilots and both she and her colleague, who works in Cyprus Airways sister company Eurocypria, are members of ISA+21.

    "Our society, set up in 1978 by 21 women pilots from ten countries, hence the name of the organisation, deals with problems facing women pilots such as pregnancy, sexual harassment, benefits, airline policies affecting women" she said.

    Papadopoulou said the society is a non - profit organisation, social rather than political and aims at providing a forum where women pilots, with a range of aviation backgrounds and experiences, can exchange views and benefit from each other's experience and expertise.

    The society, she added, has a special committee which deals with post- traumatic experience after an airline accident or a bad experience such as hijacking and discussions focus on how people cope with similar situations both during the event and afterwards.

    The chairwoman of this committee is none other than Mimi Tompkins, who lived through the 1988 accident when the roof of the aircraft she was flying, as first officer, was blown off but she managed to land it safely with only two casualties.

    The first woman pilot worldwide and the first woman pilot who flew a jumbo and the one who flew the supersonic Concorde are ISA+21 members.

    During the three-day conference, from 11 to 13 May, delegates will have the chance to see the island and visit the last divided capital worldwide, Nicosia.

    Pafos Municipality will host a reception for the participants at Pafos Castle on the coast and actual deliberations for the meeting begin on the morning of May 12, behind closed doors.

    Women pilots who were promoted to the rank of pilots will be given an award, the Captain's Plaque and on the 13 May delegates will travel to Nicosia and back to Pafos through the village of Omodos for a gala night, Cyprus Airways is hosting. The national carrier, as one of the co-sponsors of the meeting, is laying on special fares for delegates for the conference.

    The ISA+21, headed by American pilot Ginger Cutter and managed by a nine member board of directors, has 564 members worldwide from 91 airlines and 34 countries.

    The society also offers scholarships to aspiring pilots, organises seminars and other social gatherings to inform women about being a woman pilot.

    CNA MM/GP/1999

    [06] President - Vassiliou - EU

    Nicosia, Feb 9 (CNA) -- Cyprus' chief negotiator with the European Union, George Vassiliou, has stressed the need to move faster along the road to harmonising the country's legislation with the European Union acquis communautaire.

    He also said the House Foreign Affairs Committee will be renamed "House Foreign Affairs and European Union Committee" and will deal exclusively with the EU harmonisation process.

    "There is a delay in the way we work, despite the fact that those manning the various services are working very hard indeed," Vassiliou acknowledged after a meeting here today with President Glafcos Clerides.

    He suggested the creation of posts for permanent secretaries or deputy ministers because "it is humanly impossible to fulfill our obligations to the EU."

    The chief negotiator said President Clerides agrees with this idea and is currently discussing the matter with Attorney General Alecos Markides to see what the legal ramifications would be of such a move.

    Vassiliou acknowledged that the pace with which Cyprus is working towards harmonisation is slow and the work that needs to be done on this score is huge.

    Cyprus started substantive membership talks with the EU last November. It signed an association agreement with the European Community in 1972 and a customs union protocol in 1987. In July 1990, it applied for full EU membership.

    CNA FZ/MM/GP/1999

    [07] Spokesman - Clinton - Blair

    Nicosia, Feb 9 (CNA) -- The Cyprus government would like to see prominent personalities of the world political arena involved in a serious manner in the Cyprus peace effort, Government Spokesman Christos Stylianides said here today.

    His comments come in the wake of comments by US State Department special coordinator on Cyprus Thomas Miller that President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair should get personally involved in the efforts to settle the Cyprus problem.

    "We all wish to see important personalities of the international political scene, such as the US President and the British Premier, engaged in the Cyprus question in a pivotal and serious role," Stylianides said.

    He pointed out that any such engagement should be within the framework of the UN Security Council resolutions and the UN Secretary-General's good offices mission.

    The UN effort provides for a bizonal, bicommunal federation with a single sovereignty and a single citizenship and one international personality for the federal Cyprus.

    "At this stage there is no formal announcement about a specific initiative," Stylianides told his daily press briefing.

    Replying to questions, the spokesman said that when there is a more concrete and serious initiative, there must be something beyond the verbal statements.

    "We believe it would be important and hopeful if key players of the world stage, such as Clinton and Blair, were to get involved in the Cyprus issue within the UN framework and in a bid to assist the work of the UN Secretary-General," Stylianides pointed out.

    The spokesman said the government has not been presented, either officially or unofficially, with any proposal on an overall settlement providing for a confederal system and cantons.

    Today Turkish Cypriot daily "Avrupa" published what it calls a new US plan on Cyprus which gives the Turkish Cypriots 27,9 per cent of the island, under a confederal roof with cantons.

    Turkish troops have been occupying 37 per cent of Cyprus territory since 1974, in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdrawal.

    CNA MK/MM/GP/1999
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