NEWS

Flamingo’s famous once again

LARNACA (AP) – Sun, fun, Palestinian radicals and UN weapons inspectors preparing to confront Saddam Hussein. Stressed-out holidaymakers beware: The Flamingo Beach is no ordinary hotel. «I am trying to keep everyone happy, but sometimes it’s not easy,» manager Antonis Josephides concedes when asked about the wild mix of guests his hotel has hosted over the past six months. While other beachfront hotels are now less than half occupied, most of his 65 rooms are booked either by the UN weapons inspectors flying from here to Baghdad today or the gaggle of reporters and TV crews gathered to watch them go. It is the second stay in the Flamingo in six months for some of the journalists. They first converged on the three-star hotel in May for the nearly two-week stay of 13 Palestinians deported by Israel after its siege of Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity. Now, as then, the frenetic activity in this quiet corner of the island leaves «normal» hotel guests bemused. «We were hoping for a few quiet days at the end of the season,» said Vladimir Holjevac from Hamburg, eyeing the media mob gathered on the hotel terrace in disbelief. Unlike the Palestinians, who were confined to their rooms and guarded by heavily armed Cypriot police, the UN inspectors here roam freely. But for the media trying to talk to them, the inspectors might as well be under lock and key. One UN official said the hotel was picked partly because of Josephides’s reputation for keeping things to himself. Asked if his reputation helped him secure the UN’s business, and the deal to house the Palestinians, Josephides, 39, smiled. «Confidentiality and reliability was a major factor,» he said. «Sometimes I want to share things but out of commitment to the people who trust me, I don’t do it.»