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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-09-29

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>


CONTENTS

  • [01] Seychelles Vice President - Cyprus problem
  • [02] Turkey - Nuclear reactor - Reactions
  • [03] Cyprus - Russia
  • [04] Cyprus - Australia
  • [05] Greenpeace - Ship - Cyprus

  • 0840:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Seychelles Vice President - Cyprus problem

    by Myria Antoniadou

    New York, Sep 29 (CNA) -- Seychelles Vice President, James Michel has underlined that the division of Cyprus has persisted for too long and said the international community cannot condone the presence of foreign troops on the island.

    Addressing Monday the 53rd Session of the UN General Assembly, Michel said "speaking of peace and security we cannot but emphasise with the fellow small island state, Cyprus, with which we are sentimentally bound in a common destiny".

    "The division of the island has persisted for too long," he said, adding "we cannot allow it to continue as a fait accompli. Nor can we accept the presence of foreign troops there."

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

    The Seychelles Vice President underlined that Cyprus is a unitary sovereign state and its problem "can only be resolved on the basis of the UN Security Council resolutions".

    He referred to continuing tension in relations between Greece and Turkey, pointing out his country would like to see good neighbourly relations between the two countries, "based on international law and treaties as well as on the basis of the principles enshrined in the UN Charter".

    "Differences are bound to remain, but these can be resolved within mechanisms available in international law in particular through the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice," Michel said.

    He ended his reference by urging Turkey "to accept the Court jurisdiction".

    CNA MA/MCH/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1215:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] Turkey - Nuclear reactor - Reactions

    by Menelaos Hadjicostis

    Toronto, Sep 29 (CNA) -- Amid growing international concern over the proposed sale of nuclear reactors to Turkey, Greek environmentalists joined forces with other activists from around the world in raising domestic and foreign awareness of the issue and voicing their opposition to the possible acquisition of nuclear technology by Turkey.

    A conference focusing on the environmental impact of the proposed nuclear plant on the southern coast of Turkey as well as the threat of nuclear weapons proliferation in the region, was held over the weekend in Chalkida.

    "It really was a call to arms for Greeks to start taking this issue seriously," David Martin told CNA from Greece. Martin is research director of Nuclear Awareness Project, a Canadian based non-profit environmental organisation.

    The conference, sponsored by the Pan-Evoia Federation, an umbrella organisation encompassing all the municipalities in Evoia, was addressed by about a dozen prominent environmentalists from the region, including Martin and George Perdikis, president of the Ecologist-Environmentalist Movement in Cyprus.

    Conference participants expressed grave concern over Turkey's bid to acquire nuclear technology that may have dire consequences on the region's environment, as well as potentially leading to the development of nuclear weapons by that country.

    Turkey wants to build a nuclear power station on its southern coast at Akkuyu Bay, approximately 120 kilometres north of the island of Cyprus.

    It accepted bids from three vendors, including Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL), a consortium between France's Framatome and Germany's Siemens and another consortium between the United States' Westinghouse and Japan's Mitsubishi.

    Environmental activists from Cyprus, Canada and Turkey have warned that the proposed site lies in a seismically sensitive area.

    Some say an earthquake equal to, or greater than the one that occurred late last June 136 kilometres east of Akkuyu Bay with a magnitude of 6.3, could have catastrophic consequences for Turkey and its neighbours, including Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria and Syria, if a nuclear plant is constructed there.

    Especially harsh has been the criticism against the Canadian reactor design, called CANDU. In a letter published recently in a major Toronto daily newspaper, Karl Buckthought, president of Canadian based Earthquake Forecasts, Inc. is categorical in his criticism of the CANDU design.

    "The CANDU reactor design is such that severe shaking produced by a quake will cause the break in the main heat transport... It is quite irresponsible of Canadians to support a proposal that has the potential to destroy millions of lives in Turkey, Cyprus, Greece and Israel," Buckthought said.

    The mayor of the municipality of Glyka Nera in Attica, Manolis Katsoulis, urged in a letter addressed to top Greek political leaders that both the Greek public and the government become sensitive to this issue and called for letters of protest to be sent to the parliaments of the three vendor countries.

    "We hope that our discussion results in methodical actions and initiatives undertaken by our city that does not want to be turned into an "uninhabitable area" as a result of a mistake (nuclear accident) or purposefully (nuclear weapons) by a regime such as Turkey's," the letter says.

    Martin said an effort is afoot to orchestrate an international campaign against the sale of the reactors to Turkey.

    "What we are trying to do now is to organise an international petition campaign that will be from the people of Turkey, the people of Greece, Cyprus, as well as Germany and France and will aim it at the French, Canadian and German governments," he said.

    Martin added that he sees this conference "as planting the seed" for a major campaign in Greece against the proposed sale. Turkey was expected to announce the winning vendor sometime last month, but has delayed the announcement repeatedly.

    "The announcement of the winning vendor is now overdue. It may happen anytime. But, it may be delayed until the national election is held in Turkey in April of 1999," Martin said.

    He added that even once the vendor is chosen, there is going to be a period of at least six months during which a contract will have to be negotiated and signed.

    "We have a window of opportunity now, that if we mobilise quickly and if we speak with a loud enough voice, we really can stop this crime against humanity, the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear plant," Martin said.

    Greenpeace activists have told CNA they believe Canada to be a front- runner to win the bid.

    "I would say AECL are the favourite candidate at the moment," said Ben Pearson with Nuclear Campaign, Greenpeace International.

    Martin said AECL is ahead of the competition right now because it is much cheaper than the US-Japan consortium's bid.

    Canada has an edge over the Franco-German consortium's bid as well because Turkey does not look upon it in a favourable light given its rejection last March from starting accession negotiations with the European Union.

    Martin also raised the spectre of Turkey building nuclear weapons, something which the Turkish Atomic Energy Commission, the body that governs nuclear power in that country, alluded to in a presentation to the Turkish parliament last June.

    "They said there are scientific, technological, strategic, economic components to a nuclear programme. The key word there is 'strategic' which is a clear reference to nuclear weapons. So, the main nuclear body of the government clearly has put this in writing in a report to the government, (stating) that nuclear weapons development is on the agenda," Martin said.

    But Larry Shewchuk, the AECL's Corporate Media Relations manager, doesn't see it that way.

    He told CNA that he is "not aware of any comment from Turkish politicians that link the purchase of CANDU technology to nuclear weapons".

    Shewchuk said that Turkey has signed a Nuclear Co-operation Agreement that "fully meets Canada's strict nuclear non-proliferation requirements and stringent conditions that any nuclear technology purchased from Canada be used for the peaceful purpose of electricity production".

    "By signing these documents, Turkey has given an international commitment not to develop nuclear weapons and to open its nuclear programme to international inspection and safeguards," he said.

    CNA MH/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1220:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Cyprus - Russia

    Nicosia, Sep 29 (CNA) -- Alexei Arbatov, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Duma Defence Committee, described as a "bluff" Turkish threats to attack Cyprus if the Russian S300 anti-aircraft missiles were deployed on the island.

    He was speaking after meeting Acting President of the Republic and President of the House of Representatives, Spyros Kyprianou.

    Describing his conversation with Kyprianou as interesting, Arbatov said they discussed the problems of security in Europe and particularly in Cyprus.

    "We agreed that both Russia and Cyprus have to work in order to fulfil UN resolutions (on Cyprus) and to strengthen security in the eastern Mediterranean". Arbatov said it is in the mutual interest of Russia and Cyprus to do this.

    Referring to the deployment later this year of the Russian-made surface- to-air missiles, which western countries and Turkey oppose, Arbatov said "Russia is ready to deliver the missiles as soon as Cyprus is ready to accept them".

    Invited to comment on the Turkish threats to attack Cyprus when the missiles are deployed, Arbatov said, "I don't believe in these threats. This is a bluff".

    On his part, Kyprianou said there is a problem of security in the region and in Cyprus. "I genuinely believe that Russia is interested to help, to protect the security of Cyprus and to defend the island, something which reinforces our negotiating abilities", he said.

    Invited to comment on statements that the government will suspend the deployment of the missiles if there is progress towards the resumption of the negotiations, Kyprianou said there is nothing to indicate that any progress has been achieved.

    The Cyprus government ordered the missiles last year in a bid to boost the Republic's air defence in case of a new Turkish offensive against Cyprus.

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

    The US, Britain and other countries object to the planned deployment of the missiles.

    The Cyprus government has said the missiles will be deployed unless there is substantial progress in the peace effort for a comprehensive solution or steps are taken towards the demilitarisation of Cyprus.

    CNA EC/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1225 CYPPRESS:04

    [04] Cyprus - Australia

    Nicosia, Sep 29 (CNA) -- Acting President of the Republic and President of the House of Representatives, Spyros Kyprianou, received today Australia's Special Envoy for Cyprus, John Spender.

    In a brief statement to the press, the Australian diplomat, who is expected to leave on Sunday, said he is very glad to be in Cyprus.

    "But I am here solely to learn and I am not here to make public statements or to engage in a public debate", he said.

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

    Australia is one of the troop-contributing countries to the UN peace- keeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and participates in the Commonwealth Contact Group for Cyprus.

    CNA EC/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1210:CYPPRESS:05

    [05] Greenpeace - Ship - Cyprus

    Limassol, Sep 29 (CNA) -- The Greenpeace ship "Sirius" arrived at Limassol port, on Cyprus' southern coast, today as part of an annual tour of the eastern Mediterranean.

    The ship has already visited Portugal, Malta, Greece, Turkey, Lebanon and Israel on a voyage which began in June in an effort to promote the "Year of the Ocean" environmental activities declared by the United Nations.

    This is the ninth year that a Greenpeace ship is visiting Cyprus. Greenpeace has a long campaign for the protection of the Akamas peninsula, in the island's western tip, with special interest in the endangered turtles nesting in the area.

    The international group will join environmental organisations in calling the Cyprus government to implement legislation to put into practice the World Bank recommendations on declaring Akamas a National Park.

    As part of this year's visit to Cyprus, Greenpeace is organising a concert at the Phinikoudes area of Larnaca, where Greek and pop music will be presented with free entrance to the public.

    The friends and supporters of Greenpeace will have the opportunity to visit the ship and see the "Year of the Ocean" exhibition on board, to be informed on the latest developments in Greenpeace campaigns in the Mediterranean and meet the captain and the crew.

    From October 2, the "Sirius" will be docked at Larnaca port.

    CNA DP/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    CNA ENDS
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