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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-01-15

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] US official reiterates calls to avoid tension
  • [02] Congress on Byzantine culture to be organised in Cyprus
  • [03] Cyprus welcomes Cook's statements
  • [04] Cyprus Stock Exchange
  • [05] Cyprus-Estonia discuss trade relations
  • [06] Former Ambassador elected to CERD
  • [07] US Congress delegation pledges to help reunite Cyprus
  • [08] UK imposes strict measures to T/C with no Cyprus passport

  • 1400:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] US official reiterates calls to avoid tension

    Washington, Jan 15 (CNA) -- A senior US administration official reiterated American appeals to both parties in Cyprus to avoid taking actions or making statements that would increase tension on the island and harm the peace process.

    "We urge all parties to avoid taking actions or making statements that result in increased tensions in the region and detract from efforts to achieve a just and lasting peace on the island," he said.

    The official, who wished to remain anonymous, was responding to a Cyprus government announcement that an air base near the western coastal town of Paphos will be ready by January 24, 1998.

    "The fact of the base construction has been public knowledge for some time. Our position has been consistent on this and other issues regarding the upcoming militarisation of Cyprus," he added.

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

    CNA DA/MA/GP/1998

    [02] Congress on Byzantine culture to be organised in Cyprus

    by Myria Antoniadou

    Nicosia, Jan 15 (CNA) -- Experts from five countries will come to Cyprus on Saturday (January 17), to discuss issues mainly relating to the destruction of churches in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus.

    The second meeting on "Byzantine Culture, Cyprus - Europe", is organised by the Cyprus Byzantine Academy, established in 1995. It will focus on cooperation for the promotion of Byzantine art and culture at the turn of the century.

    Speaking to CNA, Reverend Demosthenous stressed it is important that experts from Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Britain, Romania and Russia would be taking part in the meeting.

    "It offers the opportunity to experts from Europe to develop close cooperation on issues such as Byzantine art, preservation, theology, musicology, archaeology and history," he said.

    One of the lectures at the meeting will deal with "The illegal smuggling and destruction of Cyprus' cultural heritage" in the areas of the Republic occupied since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

    It is estimated that about 500 churches, some of which dating back to the Byzantine period, have been looted, destroyed or used for other purposes, such as public lavatories and stables.

    Priceless artefacts from occupied churches of Cyprus have been traced in various countries, including Britain, Germany, the US, Holland and Japan.

    Other issues to be discussed at the congress are "The principles of Christianity in Romania", "Monasteries as cultural centres in Russia", "The evolution of Byzantine fresco technique in Italy" and "Devotional and votive images in 13th century Tuscany and their Byzantine models".

    Rev. Demosthenous underlined the importance of Byzantine culture and the need for more discussion on the issue, "not to revive the past but to present it in a more improved way."

    "I believe that Byzantine culture, as a society of peace, could offer what humanity was searching for in the 20th century," he added.

    He said he would present preparations for a book on the churches in Turkish-occupied Cyprus, expected to be published this year.

    It is the first book of its kind and more than one thousand photographs of occupied churches have been collected.

    He said the first publication would be in English, to be followed by Greek, Italian and other languages.

    "It is very important to show the real dimensions of the problem in Cyprus and the need to restore, preserve and save our churches in the occupied areas," Rev. Demosthenous added.

    Invited to comment on the destruction of churches in the Turkish- occupied area, he expressed certainty that "the bulk of treasures we left behind in the occupied areas is so immense that they (the Turks) cannot wipe them off this earth."

    CNA MA/GP/1998

    [03] Cyprus welcomes Cook's statements

    Nicosia, Jan 15 (CNA) -- Cyprus expressed its satisfaction with statements by British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, that a Cyprus solution is not a condition for progress on the Republic's accession to the European Union (EU).

    Government Spokesman, Manolis Christofides, told his press briefing Thursday the governments of Cyprus and Greece had worked in close cooperation to promote Cyprus' EU membership application at the top of candidate countries.

    The Spokesman welcomed the fact that Cook, current President of the EU Council of Ministers, declared that the EU has the opportunity to contribute to a Cyprus settlement through the prospect of the Republic joining its ranks.

    He noted that Cyprus should now work hard to promote and secure its full membership into the EU.

    Outlining his country's agenda for the current six-month rotating EU presidency, Cook reiterated Tuesday before the European Parliament that a solution to the Cyprus problem is not a condition for progress on the Republic's accession.

    "The prospect of Cyprus joining the EU offers us the opportunity to contribute to the peace and prosperity to all of the people of that island, " he added.

    Christofides made reference to US President Bill Clinton's latest report to Congress on Cyprus which said that senior US officials met extensively with EU officials, states and others "to support Cypriot EU accession prospects and to encourage stronger EU-Turkish relations."

    The EU has decided to open accession negotiations with Cyprus on March 30, 1998.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of the island's territory.

    CNA MM/AP/GP/1998

    [04] Cyprus Stock Exchange

    Nicosia, Jan 15 (CNA) -- The Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) All Share Index closed at today's stock exchange meeting as follows:
    CSE All Share Index                    77.05 (-0.77)
    Highest: 82.46 (2/1/97)
    Lowest : 73.90 (30/1/97)
    Sectural Indices
    Banks                                  89.15 (-0.77)
    Approved Investment Companies          59.51 (-0.20)
    Insurance Companies                    56.43 (-0.42)
    Industrial Companies                   74.19 (-0.56)
    Tourist Industries                     60.51 (-1.11)
    Commercial Companies                   39.23 (-1.11)
    Other Companies                        64.04 (-1.70)
    Trading Volume                         CYP 310846.895
    * The difference in brackets represents the percentage increase (+) or decrease (-) of the index from the previous stock exchange meeting.
    CNA MCH/1998

    [05] Cyprus-Estonia discuss trade relations

    Nicosia, Jan 15 (CNA) -- The prospects of expanding trade relations between Cyprus and Estonia were discussed today by Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister, Michalakis Michaelides and Estonian Foreign Minister, Toomas Hendrik Ilves.

    Speaking after the meeting, Michaelides said cooperation in the fields of tourism and imports-exports could expand.

    He noted that because of its fine climate Cyprus could attract Estonian tourists during the winter months as well.

    Some three thousand Estonians visit Cyprus every year.

    On his part the Estonian Minister pointed out that Cyprus is a tourist destination many of his compatriots favour.

    "There are many people who want to come here for vacations during the winter months," he said.

    He expressed the view that Cyprus "is going to become a more important (tourist destination) after the signing of an agreement for the abolition of visas between the two countries."

    The agreement was signed yesterday by Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides and his Estonian counterpart.

    Concluding, Ilves said small countries joining the European Union "have a lot to discuss and a lot of mutual possibilities right now," which they should develop in the future.

    The Estonian Minister is on a five-day official visit to Cyprus, at the invitation of his Cypriot counterpart.

    CNA RM/MCH/AP/1998

    [06] Former Ambassador elected to CERD

    Nicosia, Jan 15 (CNA) -- Former Ambassador Michael Sherifis has been re- elected as a member to the UN Committee for the Eradication of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

    The Committee which comprises of 18 members, elected for a period of four years, has in the past adopted resolutions calling for the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Cyprus, the return of refugees to their homes and for respect of human rights.

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

    CNA MCH/AP/1998

    [07] US Congress delegation pledges to help reunite Cyprus

    Larnaca, Jan 15 (CNA) -- A four-member US Congress delegation arrived here today and pledged to do everything possible to reunite Cyprus and bring its people back together.

    The delegation consists of Congress members who are also members of the Helsinki Commission, visiting Greece, Cyprus, Turkey and Austria to look into human rights violations.

    Speaking on arrival for a two-day visit, head of the delegation, John Edward Porter said:

    "In Cyprus, our purpose is to try to do whatever we possibly can do to aid the cause of reuniting this country and bring its people back together."

    The US Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) is an independent agency of the US government responsible for monitoring and encouraging compliance of participating states with the Helsinki Final Act.

    Porter said the delegation has already visited Greece where they met with several religious and ethnic minority groups and listened to their grievances.

    These are the kind of matters that can be brought up in the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe), he added.

    Asked by CNA whether the delegation would raise the issue of human rights' violations in Cyprus with Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, at a meeting scheduled for this afternoon, Porter was positive.

    "On a number of occasions in the past it was a sad opportunity to hear his (Denktash's) views regarding reunification and for us to pursue him to be as forthcoming as possible with regard to negotiations e.t.c.,", he said.

    "Unfortunately no pressure has been enough to this point to bring back change," he added.

    The US Congress delegation will be received, tomorrow morning, by President Glafcos Clerides.

    Porter expressed the view the situation regarding human rights in Turkey has recently changed dramatically and said he hoped Turks will change their attitude towards Cyprus and the Kurdish minority.

    He pointed out the US are willing to assist efforts in this direction and bring about change in this part of the world.

    Porter also said he hoped the US can add to efforts towards a Cyprus solution under Presidential Emissary for Cyprus, Richard Holbrooke.

    "I think all sides proceed to a take some major pressure on Cyprus to bring about some very favourable results," he said.

    The US Congress delegation also includes congressional representatives Steny, Hoyer, Ben Cardin and Louise Slaughter.

    The delegation will also have meetings with UN officials, the US embassy and other authorities, as well as citizens and some non- governmental organisations regarding developments in Cyprus.

    CNA MAN/AP/MCH/1998

    [08] UK imposes strict measures to T/C with no Cyprus passport

    Nicosia, Jan 15 (CNA) -- Britain will impose strict measures on Turkish Cypriots, non holders of the passport of the Republic of Cyprus, who apply for entry to the UK as from tomorrow.

    "Turkish Cypriot holders of non-national travel documents wishing to visit the UK will have to satisfy UK entry clearance staff of their eligibility to enter the UK before travelling," the Home Office announced Thursday.

    Turkish Cypriot holders of the internationally recognised passport of the Republic of Cyprus do not require an entry visa.

    As a concession, the British government has not hitherto required Turkish Cypriot holders of non-national documents to obtain prior entry clearance before travelling to the country.

    "The government has decided to withdraw this concession because of its abuse by an increasing number of bogus asylum applicants," a British High Commission announcement said.

    The new arrangements will be effective from Friday, January 16 1998, while from February 5 they will also need to obtain a visa in transit through the UK.

    According to official British records, during 1995 a total of 244 asylum applications were received at UK ports from persons holding documents issued by the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime in the occupied part of Cyprus.

    This figure more than doubled for 1996 to 467, while the total for 1997 was 459.

    Also, of those claims decided during 1996 and so far during 1997, there were no grants of asylum, nor were there any grants of exceptional leave to remain for those persons who held these documents.

    As from tomorrow primary entry clearance will be carried out at the British High Commission in Nicosia, rather than at point of entry into the UK.

    It is believed that these strict measures are also related to the increasing number of mainland Turks who flock to the illegal pseudostate to obtain documents issued by the puppet regime and make it to the UK.

    Turkish Cypriot press has reported the British government's decision has caused a "shock" to the Turkish Cypriot side.

    Only Turkey recognises the puppet regime and the UN itself has called on all states "not to recognise" the self-styled entity and "not to facilitate or in any way assist the aforesaid secessionist entity."

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

    CNA AP/MCH/1998
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