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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-06-06

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Jews thank Cypritos for WW II help
  • [02] Labour Minister leaves for ILO meeting
  • [03] No problems in Cyprus' EU accession talks
  • [04] US embassy letter - normal practice

  • 0950:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Jews thank Cypriots for WW II help

    by Maria Myles

    Nicosia, Jun 6 (CNA) -- More than 150 Jewish community leaders from around the world will be in Cyprus next week to thank the people of the island who helped Jews detained in two camps here by the British, after the end of World War II.

    The trip was arranged to coincide with the 50th anniversary since the establishment of the state of Israel.

    "They are coming here to say thank you to the Cypriots who have helped. I am proud of that because it reflects our culture, we never forget someone who did us a favour in time of need," Israeli Ambassador in Nicosia Shemi Tzur told CNA on the occasion of the visit.

    During a gala dinner on Wednesday, President Glafcos Clerides will be honoured in appreciation of the help Cypriots offered to detained Jews when Cyprus was still a British colony.

    Cyprus became an independent state in 1960.

    To commemorate their historic visit and the detention period of 1946-49, the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Nicos Rolandis will unveil a testimonial plaque at Larnaca port passengers departure hall, on Thursday, just before the Jewish leaders depart aboard a cruise liner for Haifa.

    The inscription on the plaque notes that it is "an expression of the gratitude of the Jewish people to the many Cypriot friends who encouraged and assisted the 52,384 Jewish refugees who stayed in camps erected on the island by the British from 1946 to 1949, and departed from the ports of Cyprus on their way to freedom in Israel."

    The Jewish leaders, who will gather in Israel for the annual meeting of the Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal from 9-17 June, will bring their proceedings to Cyprus on Wednesday to commemorate the detention and eventual release and return to Israel.

    Four of the 167 coming to Cyprus were actually detainees in the camps Britain had on the island between 1946-49, where 52,384 Jewish refugees were detained.

    The Jewish leaders, who come from many countries including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Germany, South Africa and Britain, will visit the remains of one of the camps, situated in Dhekelia, one of the two military bases Britain has retained since it granted Cyprus its independence.

    The second camp was in Karaolos area on the outskirts of Famagusta, occupied by Turkish troops since 1974.

    "Our visit to Cyprus during the jubilee year has special meaning. We are happy to undertake this unique trip to demonstrate this historic era of our history," said Baruch Gur, Director of the Keren Hayesod.

    An exhibition of photographs, stamps and documents of the detention period under the title "eye-witness report" will be held at the site of the Dhekelia camp.

    The first Jewish refugees arrived at the Cyprus camps in August 1946 and the last departed in February 1949, ten months after the Jewish state was established.

    Between 1946-1949, 1916 babies were born to Jewish refugees in the camps, 126 people died in detention and 1,573 people are believed to have escaped, many with help from Cypriots.

    While in Cyprus, the Jewish leaders will continue the deliberations of their annual meeting both at the Dhekelia site and on board the cruise liner that will take them to Haifa.

    The President of the Cyprus-Israel Association, Prodromos Papavasiliou, told CNA that Cypriots in the late 1940s "offered substantive support and solidarity with the Jewish detainees."

    "We also protested a lot to the British government because we fought with Britain in the War and we did not want to see people who have suffered so much to be held in camps in our own country," he explained.

    He said the British authorities ruling Cyprus at the time did not allow all the Jews to leave the island in May 1948 because they believed the fighting in Israel would have put their lives at risk.

    CNA MM/MA/1998

    [02] Labour Minister leaves for ILO meeting

    Nicosia, Jun 6 (CNA) -- Cyprus' Labour and Social Insurance Minister, Andreas Mousioutas, was due to leave today for Geneva, Switzerland, to take part in the 86th session of the International Labour Conference.

    He will head a three-member Cyprus delegation and is expected to address the meeting on Tuesday, June 9.

    Within the framework of the conference, ministers will have an unofficial meeting to discuss the prospect of better and more work for women.

    During his stay in Geneva, Mousioutas will discuss cooperation between Cyprus and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), with ILO officials, and meet with counterparts from various countries.

    CNA MA/GP/1998

    [03] No problems in Cyprus' EU accession talks

    Nicosia, Jun 6 (CNA) -- A European Union official, who is visiting Cyprus to explain the screening process, today said that no problems have so far come up in Cyprus' accession talks.

    At a press conference with which he concluded his working visit, Director General of the European Commission Task Force for the accession negotiations, Nikolaus van der Pas, also described a Cyprus government proposal for Turkish Cypriot participation in this process as a "bridge".

    On his part, Cyprus' chief negotiator in the accession process, George Vassiliou, described the visit as "very successful" and said their assessment is that "Cyprus is on the right track in accession talks".

    "We hope that the same rhythm will be followed in the future and with the same positive results," he added.

    Van der Pas, who is accompanied by the Task Force negotiator for Cyprus, Leopold Maurer, echoed Vassiliou's view and said their objectives had been fulfilled.

    He explained that one of the objectives was to ensure that the message concerning the screening process, which aims at exploring the ground for future negotiations and seeing where difficulties may arise, is understood.

    "We have already done the eight out of the 31 chapters (with Cyprus) and we note with great satisfaction that no real problems have been met," Van der Pas said.

    He added that in the meetings the Cypriot delegation "is very well prepared, it knows what it's talking about, has a very profound knowledge of the acquis communautaire and with a bit of prompting from our side has responded positively".

    The EU official said they now have a clear view where Cyprus stands on these eight chapters, describing them as "unproblematic", but refrained from speculating on the outcome of the chapters to be discussed in future negotiations.

    He called for "patience and persistence" in the screening process and said the real difficulties will be addressed when they arise.

    Referring to the second part of the screening process, regarding the capacity of the candidate countries to implement in practice the acquis, he said "the impression is a very favourable one" for Cyprus.

    Van der Pas noted that the officials with whom he met "have a good capacity of translating the acquis into reality", adding that the government is "very much determined to make progress in these negotiations" and the administration is "rather well prepared to take upon itself the difficult task".

    The EU official noted that the political question in Cyprus also came up in their discussions and said their conclusion is that "this is a problem that has to be solved by those who are at present doing an enormous effort".

    "While this is going on we shouldn't interfere too much through the negotiating process," he added, referring to UN-led international efforts to get the two sides back to the negotiating table.

    The EU official expressed regret with the fact that the Turkish Cypriot community rejected an invitation from President Glafcos Clerides to participate in the Cyprus negotiating team.

    He noted that since the EU has decided to open the negotiations despite the Cyprus problem "there is no other option and desire for us at the moment than to continue as quickly as possible through this whole process, hoping all the time that rather sooner than later the Turkish Cypriot community will change its mind and join the negotiations".

    EU accession talks with Cyprus and five central and eastern European countries got underway in March.

    Noting that the Greek Cypriot side confirmed the invitation still stands, Van der Pas said that "this visit should also be seen as a signal to the Turkish Cypriot community and a further invitation to join the negotiating table".

    Asked what will happen if the negotiations are at a final stage and the Turkish Cypriots continue to reject participation, Van der Pas said there is still time and expressed the hope the situation will change.

    He added that this issue will have to be addressed by "those who have the political responsibility in this country and by those who have the same responsibility in the EU".

    Describing the invitation by President Clerides as "comprehensive", he urged Turkish Cypriots to understand the benefits that would arise from EU accession, in terms of economic growth, political and social integration.

    Van der Pas said that for the EU "this accession process is very much considered to be to the benefit of both communities".

    Asked if he believes EU-Turkish relations can affect Cyprus' accession process, he reiterated that the Union "has opened many doors" for the improvement of relations and strengthening cooperation with Turkey.

    He expressed the conviction that this effort will be continued in the EU summit to be held later this month in Cardiff and the hope it will be successful.

    "There will be strong signals from the EU to Turkey in order to overcome the hesitations which have manifested in Ankara," Van der Pas said.

    Turkey reacted strongly to an EU decision, taken last December in Luxembourg, not to include it in the group of countries with which accession talks would begin.

    The EU had also set preconditions for the improvement of relations, including Ankara's backing of efforts to settle the Cyprus question and the improvement of its human rights record.

    Van der Pas said that if EU signals are "taken up positively by Turkey, we of course hope that there will be a positive side-effect on the political difficulty in this country".

    "Much depends on Turkey," he added.

    The EU officials met earlier today with Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides with whom they discussed questions pertaining to the screening process.

    Both officials are leaving Cyprus on Monday.

    CNA MA/GP/1998

    [04] US embassy letter - normal practice

    Nicosia, Jun 6 (CNA) -- US embassy's fact-sheet sent to American citizens registered in Cyprus is "normal practice", the embassy assured the Cyprus government.

    According to a TV Sigma report here last night, the US embassy in Nicosia wrote to American citizens in Cyprus, requesting information on the number of their family members.

    The report implied that this was done because of fears about future security conditions on the island.

    Reacting to the report, Cyprus Government Spokesman Christos Stylianides issued today a brief written statement, saying: "It is clarified, after an investigation and assurances given by the US embassy, that the letter is normal practice in order to fill in the personal data of the list of American citizens living in Cyprus".

    The embassy also assured that this process is done "at regular intervals", according to Stylianides.

    CNA MA/GP/1998
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