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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-10-24

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Conference - Children - Rights
  • [02] Israel - Cyprus problem - Middle East
  • [03] US aid - Cyprus
  • [04] Military manoeuvres - nearing end

  • 1100:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Conference - Children - Rights

    Nicosia, Oct 24 (CNA) -- Cyprus is to host a major conference to promote children's rights worldwide to mark ten years since the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, with the participation of seven children activists in this field and well over 500 participants from around the globe.

    The two-day meeting, entitled "Children's Rights and Wrongs", will take place here on 5-6 November and will be opened by President Glafcos Clerides.

    Hossein Alikhani, President of the Cyprus-based Centre for World Dialogue, which is organising this major event, will make the welcoming remarks on Thursday and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan will send a message to participants.

    "The aim of the conference is to raise awareness of the necessity for radical action to protect the children -physically, mentally and emotionally - who will shape the world in the new millennium," Alikhani has told CNA in an interview.

    There will be about 33 speakers and 700 participants, with 300 of them from abroad, he said.

    Seven children (one from India, two from Zambia, one from Cambodia, one from Guatemala and two from the Philippines), who are all active in their own countries to safeguard children's rights, will address delegates outlining their own experience, he said.

    These children took part on the eighty thousand kilometre long global march against child labour which ended in Geneva, Switzerland, in June, in which over a million children from the five continents took part.

    He also revealed that some 60 Greek Cypriot school children will also attend the meeting and said efforts are being made to have Turkish Cypriot children at the meeting.

    "We will make another effort early next week but so far the messages we get from the Turkish Cypriot regime are not encouraging," he said.

    The illegal regime in the island's Turkish-occupied northern areas has blocked bicommunal contact between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities in retaliation to a decision by the European Union to start accession talks with Cyprus.

    The first day of the conference will focus on the realities of the rights of the child, child labour, commercial sexual exploitation and children in and after armed conflict.

    The second and last day will deal with children as victims of social realities and cultural contexts, responsibility and accountability, media exposure and future move towards the year 2000.

    Prominent activists in the promotion and protection of children's rights, including the Deputy Director of UNICEF (UN Children's Fund) Stephen Lewis, Bruce Harris, Executive Director of Latin American Programmes and Sayeed Yousif Al-Khoei, Director of a London-based foundation, will address the meeting.

    Also participating are Sandra Mason, Chairperson of UN Committee on the rights of the child, Cleophas Mally, Director of the World Association of Orphans and independent film producers Kate Blewett and Brian Woods, who made the documentary on the convention on the rights of the child "Innocents Lost".

    Cypriot speakers at the meeting are deputy Androulla Vassiliou, who is also a member of the Human Rights Committee and professors Andreas Demetriou and Andreas Kapardes of the University of Cyprus.

    On the sidelines of the conference, there will be a photo exhibition of 30 photographs by the international acclaimed photojournalist Reza, from Iran, who has covered the plight of children in Rwanda and elsewhere.

    To mark the conference in Cyprus, the Centre for World Dialogue is sponsoring a competition in the form of a short essay, open to all schoolchildren from 9-18, who will be divided into three age groups.

    Children are asked to write an essay on the importance of one of freedom of expression, health and health services, child labour and winner of the competition will be awarded their prizes, a computer, at the conference.

    The Cyprus-based Centre for World Dialogue was founded by its current president Alikhani and has a 14-member board of governors.

    The Centre is a non-aligned, non-profit organisation with no affiliation to any government or political body and is funded by membership fees and contributions. It has offices in Paris, London, Geneva and Washington DC.

    CNA MM/GP/1998

    [02] Israel - Cyprus problem - Middle East

    by Maria Myles

    Nicosia, Oct 24 (CNA) -- The solution to the Cyprus question will come once Turkey is convinced that it is in her interest to settle the problem and when common Greco-Turkish-Cypriot interests are identified and promoted, according to the former Permanent Secretary of the Israeli Foreign Ministry and current Director of the Institute of European Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Shlomo Avineri.

    The former diplomat called for acceptance of "certain realities of power and balance of power" by all the sides involved in the problem and stressed that negotiations may start from an unjust situation, which the parties involved do not accept.

    He also said that a lot of courage and great political risks are needed in Cyprus to move things forward and backed contact among people from all walks of life.

    In an interview with the Cyprus News Agency, during his recent visit to Cyprus, professor Avineri talked about "political and historical realities" and gave this piece of advice "if you want to solve a problem, where there are different historical narratives, you will not solve it if you try to argue about narrative of history but only if you focus on present and future politics."

    In Cyprus, he noted, like in Israel there is historical point and two different narratives from the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities.

    "There is a stalemate and you have to go beyond this historical argument to a new beginning and for this you need a lot of courage," he said, adding that the solution will have to come from within as "no outside power can impose a solution because an imposed solution is never a solution."

    Avineri urged both sides to "try and look for common interests in Cyprus and also in the region."

    "You have to accept certain realities, realities of power, of balance of power, which are not always pleasant and in many cases you have to accept the fact that what you consider an injustice may not always be recognised," Avineri said.

    Referring to the continuing Turkish occupation of part of Cyprus, the professor said "you have to negotiate with the other side and you start from an unjust situation but does not mean you accept it," and cited the case of Israelis and Palestinians as an example of this.

    Commenting on Turkey's position that it does not accept the occupation of Cyprus, Avineri stressed "Turkey cannot deny the fact that 35,000 Turkish soldiers are in Cyprus" but noted that the two sides may not agree on terminology but can agree about the reality.

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

    "The question is how are you going to convince Turkey that it is in her interest to change the present status quo. This cannot be done by criticising the Turks for being unjust," he added.

    He expressed the view that the only thing that may move Turkey to contribute towards a solution in Cyprus is to find common interests among Greece, Cyprus and Turkey on other issues, such economic or strategic interests or European aspirations.

    Avineri called on Cyprus to enhance further ties with Israel and try to filter through to the Israeli people from all walks of life the reality of the situation in Cyprus.

    Replying to questions, he backed contact between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides "to create understanding" and although he acknowledged that Greek and Turkish Cypriot school textbooks do not agree on what has happened "the leaders can agree on what will happen in the future."

    CNA MM/GP/1998

    [03] US aid - Cyprus

    Nicosia, Oct 24 -- (CNA) -- The US Congress has adopted legislation by which the traditional 15 million dollars in aid for Cyprus is maintained.

    US President Bill Clinton has signed the legislation into law. The US Congress voted for the provision of the amount of 15 million in aid for Cyprus to be used for scholarships, bicommunal projects and measures aimed at reunification of the island and designed to reduce tensions and promote peace and cooperation between the two communities on Cyprus.

    The adoption of this legislation also officially ended the annual appropriation of US military aid to Turkey and Greece and economic aid to Turkey.

    These cuts are the result of a general effort to reduce military aid to the region.

    CNA RM/MM/1998

    [04] Military manoeuvres - nearing end

    Larnaca, Oct 24 (CNA) -- The National Guard's annual military exercises draw to a close today with a mock attack to recapture lost ground with the participation of parachutists and the use of live ammunition.

    "Everybody should know that we are here and we shall face jointly any provocation from Turkey in the framework of the joint defence pact," Margarinis Tsavaras, a Greek Navy commander said here today.

    Speaking at Larnaca port, where the Greek destroyer "Kimon" docked earlier today, he called for "coolness and readiness" in the face of Turkish provocations during the five-day exercises, scheduled to end today. Tomorrow participating units will take part in a parade.

    Turkish fighters have in the past few days violated Nicosia and Athens FIR in response to the annual exercises, code-named "Nikiforos '98" but the Cyprus government responded in a calm and poised manner.

    Nikiforos '98 is taking place in conjunction with the Greek manoeuvres "Toxotis".

    Tsavaras stressed that the Turkish provocations do not bow the high moral of the armed forces and added "we deal with them with particular calmness and a high state of alert, always according to the agreed procedure."

    He said the two joint exercises were carried out very successfully. Already Greek one frigate is out at sea, off Larnaca port and a Greek submarine "Triton" is expected to dock later today.

    CNA MM/RM/1998
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