Appeal for missing McCann triggers flood of calls

Updated 16 October 2013

Appeal for missing McCann triggers flood of calls

LONDON: A television appeal about the 2007 disappearance of British girl Madeleine McCann in Portugal has triggered nearly 1,000 calls and e-mails, Scotland Yard said Tuesday.
Detectives published new electronic images of men they want to trace, plus a reworked timeline of events leading up to the three-year-old’s disappearance.
The appeal, based on two years of work raking over the case, was broadcast Monday on the BBC’s “Crimewatch” program.
“We have now had over 730 calls and 212 e-mails as a direct result of the specific lines of enquiry we issued,” said Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, who is leading the investigation.
“Detectives are now trawling through and prioritizing that material. This will take time.
“We are extremely pleased with the response.” Officers are particularly keen to find one man seen carrying a young child in the popular Algarve beach resort of Praia da Luz on the night of May 3, 2007.
He was spotted around 10:00pm — the time Kate McCann discovered her eldest daughter was missing from their holiday apartment.
Police said the man was of “vital importance” in their quest to discover what happened to Madeleine, who vanished just a few days before her fourth birthday.
The British detectives now believe an earlier sighting of a man carrying a child in pyjamas is irrelevant.
The appeal was to be repeated in the Netherlands on Tuesday, in Germany on Wednesday, and in Ireland.
Redwood is traveling to the Netherlands and Germany to appear on the broadcasts there.
But the appeal is not being screened in Portugal, although it has received media coverage there.
“Crimewatch” editor Joe Mather told BBC radio: “It’s been a truly unprecedented response.
“There were lots of calls from British people who were in Praia da Luz around the time of Madeleine’s disappearance who’d never previously spoken to the Met (Scotland Yard).” Regarding the man police are keen to trace, he said the public came forward with “several different names but also several callers mentioned the same name for that man.”
“It is a long shot but it’s remarkable how often results are possible even several years down the line. There were genuinely useful calls.”
The new e-fits of the man whom police are especially keen to trace were based on descriptions from an Irish family. He was seen about 500 meters away from the McCanns’ apartment.
The child fitted Madeleine’s description and did not seem in distress.
The witnesses described the man as white, between 20 and 40 years old, with short brown hair, of medium build and height and clean-shaven. One image shows him with a fuller jaw than the other.

Police said one theory was that the abduction could have been planned, which would have involved reconnaissance.
The McCanns had been dining with friends in a tapas restaurant about 50 meters away.
They were also interested in tracing “one or two” fair-haired men who had been seen “lurking” around the apartment complex before Madeleine’s disappearance. Witnesses said the men were speaking German or Dutch.
Detectives also speculated that Madeleine may have disturbed a burglary, pointing to a sharp increase in local break-ins in the months leading up to the incident.
They were also looking at possible bogus door-to-door charity collectors operating in the area.
During “Crimewatch,” the McCanns — who launched a global media campaign to find their daughter — said they were still optimistic she could be traced.
“We’re feeling hopeful,” said father Gerry McCann. “These cases can get solved,” he said, citing instances where long-lost people have been found.
Scotland Yard is offering a reward of up to £20,000 ($32,000, 23,000 euros) for information leading to the prosecution of McCann’s abductor.
Portuguese authorities closed their investigation in 2008, but Scotland Yard spent two years reviewing the case at the British government’s request and opened their own probe in July this year.
The operation has interviewed more than 440 people and identified 41 “persons of interest.”


France backs calls for EU sanctions on Turkey

Updated 19 September 2020

France backs calls for EU sanctions on Turkey

  • Cypriot officials insist the EU shouldn’t set a ‘double standard’ by imposing sanctions against Belarus for alleged voter fraud while avoiding doing so when Turkey carries on its exploration at the expense of EU members

JEDDAH: France on Friday backed Cyprus’ calls for the EU to consider imposing tougher sanctions on Turkey if the Turkish government won’t suspend its search for energy reserves in eastern Mediterranean waters where Cyprus and Greece claim exclusive economic rights.

French Minister for European Affairs Clement Beaune said sanctions should be among the options the 27-member bloc considers employing if Turkey continues to “endanger the security and sovereignty of a member state.”

“But we consider that the union should also be ready to use all the instruments at its disposal, among them one of sanctions, if the situation didn’t evolve positively,” Beaune said after talks with Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides in Nicosia.

A European Parliament resolution has called for sanctions against Turkey unless it showed “sincere cooperation and concrete progress” in defusing tensions with Greece and Cyprus.

Marc Pierini, a former EU ambassador to Turkey and now analyst at Carnegie Europe, said the resolution reflected the views of a democratically elected parliament from across the bloc. “This is not ‘country X against country Y,’ it is the aggregated view of the European Parliament,” he told Arab News.

EU leaders are set to hold a summit in a few days to discuss how to respond to Turkey prospecting in areas of the sea that Greece and Cyprus insist are only theirs to explore.

Turkey triggered a naval stand-off with NATO ally Greece after dispatching a warship-escorted research vessel in a part of the eastern Mediterranean that Greece says is over its continental shelf. Greece deployed its own warship and naval patrols in response.

Greek and Turkish military officers are also holding talks at NATO headquarters to work out ways of ensuring that any standoff at sea doesn’t descend into open conflict.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said Turkey’s withdrawal of its survey ship and warship escorts was a positive step, but that Greece needs to make sure Ankara is sincere.

He said a list of sanctions will be put before EU leaders at next week’s summit and whether they’ll be implemented will depend on Turkey’s actions. “I’m hoping that it won’t become necessary to reach that point,” Dendias said.

Cypriot officials insist the EU shouldn’t set a “double standard” by imposing sanctions against Belarus for alleged voter fraud and police brutality while avoiding doing so when Turkey carries on its exploration at the expense of EU members.

Meanwhile, the EU is set to announce sanctions on Monday against three companies from Turkey, Jordan and Kazakhstan which are accused of violating a UN arms embargo on Libya, diplomats told AFP.