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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-10-26

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Defence Minister - Naval base
  • [02] UNFICYP - Spokesman
  • [03] President - Madden
  • [04] Cyprus - Water - Mediterranean Forum
  • [05] UNFICYP - Girl - Critical

  • 0920:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Defence Minister - Naval base

    Nicosia, Oct 26 (CNA) -- Defence Minister Yiannakis Omirou has disclosed that preliminary infrastructure work for the construction of a naval base in Cyprus is underway.

    He also confirmed reports that two Greek F16 fighters were still stationed in the air base in Paphos, on the western coast of the island.

    Referring to the naval base, President Glafcos Clerides revealed Sunday that plans for its construction had been completed.

    Speaking after a visit to a Greek destroyer, which participated in joint Greco-Cypriot manoeuvres last week, the President said the timing of the construction of the base would depend on the construction company, which would undertake the project.

    On his part, Omirou, speaking a day after the successful conclusion of the National Guard's annual manoeuvres, Omirou said the two F16 have remained at the air base to deal with any eventual Turkish provocation.

    He said plans to have Greek fighters stationed at the base on a permanent basis were being examined but no firm decision had been taken yet.

    The Minister pointed out that Turkey's designs to cause problems during the joint Greco-Cypriot manoeuvres "Nikiforos -Toxotis" had failed.

    "Greek aircraft were in Cyprus with exact precision in terms of timing in all the phases of the exercises," he added.

    Omirou said preliminary work for a naval base according to the approved plans had already started and added "what we are seeking now is to secure more credit to implement these plans."

    Yesterday, for the first time, two Greek fighters took off from the Paphos air base, "Andreas Papandreou," to intercept Turkish aircraft as they were violating Cyprus' air space.

    On his part, Greek Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, speaking in Greece, has warned Turkey against further hostile air manoeuvres which endanger lives and put at risk civilian aircraft.

    He said Turkish aircraft intercepted Greek fighters and civilian aircraft belonging to foreign countries during the six-day military exercises, code-named "Nikiforos - Toxotis".

    "Turkey is undertaking a huge responsibility and is called upon to understand that such offensive behaviour in the Aegean would hold her accountable for any possible accidents in future," Tsohatzopoulos said.

    The Defence minister called on Turkey to realise that its threats have no bearing on either Greece or Cyprus and the sooner this is realised the better for Turkey's European aspirations.

    Turkish aircraft violated Athens and Nicosia FIR (Flight Information Region) on 18 separate occasions and violated on a few occasions Greek air space in southeast Aegean.

    Greek fighters made 40 sorties, recognised and intercepted the Turkish aircraft, which were armed.

    Four Greek F16 flew past Sunday's military parade in the southern coastal town of Larnaca and six fighters landed in Paphos to refuel. Four of them returned to base.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

    CNA MM/GP/1998

    [02] UNFICYP - Spokesman

    Nicosia, Oct 26 (CNA) -- UNFICYP spokesman, Waldemar Rokoszewski, leaves his Cyprus posting Tuesday to take up the duties of senior political officer in the UN observer mission in Tajikistan.

    "Cyprus remains my current post but I have signed for an initial one- year duty in Tajikistan. I am really on loan," Rokozewski told CNA on the eve of his departure from the island, where he has served for ten years as UN spokesman.

    This is the second time Rokoszewski will be working in Tajikistan. He was in the area three years ago.

    CNA MM/GP/1998

    [03] President - Madden

    Nicosia, Oct 26 (CNA) -- British High Commissioner David Madden has expressed regret over anything that raises tension on the island but stopped short of commenting directly about the massive Turkish violations of Cyprus' air space in the past several days.

    The British diplomat called on both sides to find ways to reduce tension and indicated, indirectly, that last week's annual military exercises by the National Guard in conjunction with Greek air and naval forces caused an increase in tensions.

    Madden also expressed his government's full support for the fresh UN initiative to develop a process for on-island contacts with the Greek and Turkish Cypriot parties with the goal of reducing tensions and promoting progress towards a just and lasting settlement, as set out in a statement by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

    Commenting today on the Turkish violations after meeting President Glafcos Clerides, Madden said "we regret anything that raises the level of tension on the island and therefore we are looking for ways of reducing tension, not of encouraging any increase in tension."

    There are ways of reducing tension, he said and added "I hope they will be pursued by all parties."

    Asked to outline Britain's position on the principle of violations of the air space of a sovereign country by another, he repeated that "we look to both sides to find ways of reducing tension and avoiding incidents."

    Invited to say if the annual military manoeuvres raised tensions, Madden replied "I suppose it is a fact that when military exercises are taking place, that is the time of the year when there are more problems than there are at other times of the year."

    Referring to this discussion with the President, he said he expressed Britain's "absolute and full support" for Dame Ann Hercus' mission (Annan's resident representative in Cyprus).

    "She has the full support in her efforts which we hope will be crowned with success", he added, backing also Hercus' position that there must be confidentiality for this effort.

    Commenting on press suggestions that the UN effort does not have much prospect for success, Madden recalled the remit Hercus has and added "let us see how she gets on and how much progress can be made."

    The British diplomat, who was accompanied by his deputy John Buck, avoided any comment on the substance of the discussions at hand, citing their confidentiality and refrained from comment on last week's European Union Commission proposal to circumvent Greek veto on releasing funds to Turkey.

    Asked how Britain can practically support Hercus's efforts, Madden said the UK, as a permanent member of the Security Council, will give Hercus "full support whenever she needs it."

    CNA MM/GP/1998

    [04] Cyprus - Water - Mediterranean Forum

    Nicosia, Oct 26 (CNA) -- By the end of the year, Cyprus will be without water, because there is only enough water in the dams for the next two months.

    Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, Costas Themistocleous, said that despite the projects carried out since 1960 to collect water, "the problem has not been solved", because no-one predicted "the hydrological changes".

    Addressing the Third Mediterranean Agriculture Forum "Water Use in Agriculture: Problems and Prospectives", Themistocleous said that "over the past ten years, the rainfall reduced by 18 per cent, while the average flow of rivers reduced by 50 per cent".

    Themistocleous added that "as from the end of the year, we will not have any water reserves in the dams".

    The Forum is an initiative of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, in cooperation with the International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP) and the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (ICAMAS).

    The first two Fora took place in Turkey (1994) and Israel (1995), and resulted in two resolutions being adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly on food and agricultural development in the Mediterranean Basin, and on the problem of desertification in the same area.

    Speaking at the Forum, Panayiotis Demetriou, Chairman of the Cyprus Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly, said that in Cyprus, the water problem has "social, economic and environmental" aspects and takes "huge dimensions".

    Demetriou added that the problem affects many countries, but especially those of the Mediterranean, and stressed that "the water problem in Cyprus is getting worse and is being faced with great concern".

    On his part, Giuseppe Avolio, Chairman of the Mediterranean Committee of IFAP, said that the solution of the problem is not only necessary for the Mediterranean basin, but also for Northern Europe, adding that for this reason, the Forum should not have taken place in Cyprus, but in Northern Europe.

    Avolio made special reference to the agriculture sector, saying that "agriculture should be recognised as a basis for the construction of a better future for the world and the environment", adding that the new world should be based "on cooperation and friendship, which are the hope, the means, and the tool to create a friendly world without wars".

    Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Food of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development of the Parliamentary Assembly, Juhan Telgmaa, said that "Cyprus is the proper place to discuss the use of water".

    He noted that the shortage of water affects many Mediterranean countries and that "it is very important to take all the necessary measures to safeguard and handle the natural resources properly".

    Telgmaa added that the Sub-Committee will report back to the Parliamentary Assembly on the results of the Forum.

    CNA RG/GP/1998

    [05] UNFICYP - Girl - Critical

    Nicosia, Oct 26 (CNA) -- The United Nations Peacekeeping Forces in Cyprus (UNFICYP) said it is "absolutely devastated" by the news that a three-year- old girl was critically injured during the UN Open Day on Saturday.

    A press release said "all UNFICYP personnel are absolutely devastated by the news that the little girl, Vergina Nicolaidou, who was seriously injured as a result of a riding accident at the UN "Open Day" at the Ledra Palace Hotel, is in a very critical condition".

    Dame Ann Hercus, the UN Secretary-General's Resident Representative, said "our hearts and prayers are with Vergina, her parents and wider family at this time".

    She said "they have been giving all the support" they can to the little girl's parents and family, "but such matters, we think, are private and outside the eyes of the media."

    Referring to the incident, the statement said the little girl "was wearing a safety helmet and the pony, was being guided by a member of the Dhekelia Pony Club. The little girl's mother was walking by her."

    It said "emergency medical assistance was provided by the UNFICYP doctors before the child was transferred to Nicosia General Hospital on Saturday, immediately after the incident."

    The accident occurred in the early afternoon as Greek and Turkish Cypriots thronged the groups of the UN-controlled Ledra Palace hotel in the buffer zone in Nicosia to attend celebrations marking the 53rd anniversary of the founding of the UN Organisation.

    Press reports said the pony bolted, the girl fell to the ground and was trampled on by the horse.

    Doctors said the little girl's condition was "hopeless". She is kept alive on a respirator.

    CNA EC/GP/1998
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