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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 03-12-02
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 T/C workers protest against regime's decision for tax payment
T/C workers protest against regime's decision for tax payment
Nicosia, Dec 2 (CNA) -- Approximately 750 Turkish Cypriots living in Cyprus' Turkish-occupied areas, who cross every day into the government-controlled areas of the Republic for work, marched this morning to the so-called parliament to protest against the illegal regime's demand to fill in a form declaring their income, for tax payment reasons.
CNA has learned that the form was handed over this morning to 1300 T/C workers at the Ledra Palace check-point, where they had gone in order to pass through to the government-controlled areas.
 EuroParliament seminars for journalists from acceding countries
EuroParliament seminars for journalists from acceding countries
Brussels, Dec 2 (CNA) -- The European Parliament opens here today a three-day seminar titled "Inter-Governmental Conference and the position of the European Parliament" with the participation of journalists from the acceding countries, including Cyprus.
 Illegal regime allows T/C workers to cross
Illegal regime allows T/C workers to cross
Nicosia, Dec 2 (CNA) -- The illegal regime in the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus has finally allowed hundreds of Turkish Cypriot workers to cross into the government-controlled southern part of the island to work under Greek Cypriot employers.
This morning the regime did not allow the T/C workers to cross, as they do every day, unless the workers filled in a form for tax payment purposes. Most of the T/C workers refused and instead they marched towards the socalled parliament in the occupied part of Nicosia, the world's last divided capital.
The demonstrators chanted slogans against the policies followed by the illegal regime and laid a black wreath outside the socalled parliament in protest.
 Serdar Denktash: we are heading for victory, coalition necessary
Serdar Denkash: we are heading for victory, coalition necessary
by Themis Themistocleous, Maria Myles
Nicosia, Dec 2 (CNA) -- Serdar Denktash, leader of the Turkish Cypriot Democratic Party, is convinced that he will have the biggest share of the ''vote'' in next week's ''parliamentary elections'' in Turkish occupied Cyprus and says he will form a coalition with any party that gets into ''parliament'' provided there is agreement that the UN plan for a Cyprus settlement is unacceptable and that fresh talks with the Greek Cypriot side resume after December 14, with his father, Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, as the negotiator.
In an interview with CNA, Serdar Denktash said there cannot be a political settlement without his father's signature and charged the UN, the EU and the US are working against a solution instead of facilitating one.
Serdar Denktash dismissed the role of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan as facilitator in the effort for a solution and said a settlement should provide for ''a new state with two sovereign people'', Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.
He rejected the Annan proposal on a settlement as ''a plan of non solution'' and said Turkey has vital interests in Cyprus which have to be retained, arguing that the balance between Greece and Turkey should be maintained.
Replying to questions, he said the nearly 10 per cent of the ''vote'' given to his party by opinion polls is not anywhere near the actual strength of his party and appeared convinced the Democratic Party will be the largest in ''parliament''.
''There is going to be a coalition definitely, we are open to everybody in the parliament,'' he said, adding that because of the cooperation protocol already signed by opposition parties he is left with only one option, to form an alliance with Dervis Eroglu, the current ''prime minister'' who favours the creation of two states in Cyprus.
Denktash said claims by the ''opposition'' parties that the ''electoral list'' has been tampered with are ''propaganda'' and suggested that ''the increase by 159 in the number of voters in Kyrenia district does not justify'' such claims.
Referring to Annan plan, he said ''it should be possible for everyone to negotiate every article and - I believe this is something the Greek side wants as well - the limitations in the plan should be lifted.''
''We want to see within the plan that the new state that is going to be formed has two legs - sovereign Greek Cypriot people and sovereign Turkish Cypriot people ready to share their sovereign powers to use on the island and then we will decide to hand over some of those powers to the EU, this is a security issue for the Turkish Cypriots,'' he said, rejecting suggestions that such an arrangement would lead to partition of the island.
Accepting the ''sovereign rights'' of the Turkish Cypriots is the only step to unite the island, he added.
Asked if he has the support of Turkey in these views, he appeared uncertain but believed that he would be able to find a way to cooperate with Turkish premier Tayyip Erdogan.
Serdar Denktash said he agreed with his father's positions with regard to the principles of the solution but disagreed on how to go about getting to a solution.
''I believe there can be other ways and means of reaching the same goal, but we will keep those as our secret,'' he told CNA.
On the prospect of resuming talks, he said the solution must first be agreed on before the two sides are asked to put this to a referendum, pointing to the need to clarify certain articles of the plan. He insisted he put no preconditions for the opening of negotiations.
''We do not need the Secretary General or anyone else, we should be able to find a compromise by ourselves. At the end he will have to come in, we do not need him at the beginning,'' he said.
Commenting on the role of external factors in efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue, the T/C politician said the EU ''is not helping at all, they are not aware of this'', while the UN ''is not facilitating, they are ordering at this moment and as long as that continues, there cannot be a solution.''
Denktash claimed the UN and the EU are ''the producers'' of a scenario in which the opposition parties participate, and added ''someone outside is trying to keep the conflict as it is, the scenario is to not find a solution.''
''The EU cannot reject Turkey's membership but they do not really want to accept it, to keep them in the guest room is much more beneficial, this is my scenario. America is one of the sides as well, keeping Cyprus unsolved is a good excuse, not a legal excuse, to keep Turkey in the guest room, we do not really know if the US wants Turkey in the EU,'' he said.
On rapprochement between the two communities, he said the tangible results of the partial lifting of restrictions is that it has allowed Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to understand each other.
At the same time, he said ''normalisation steps'' such as the partial lifting since April 23 of restrictions on free movement to and from the occupied areas did not constitute the solution to the Cyprus problem.
He did not rule out further steps such as opening up the ghost town of Famagusta or withdrawing a number of Turkish troops from Cyprus but denied to reveal any steps he had in mind.
 Cyprus President to meet Fini instead of Berlusconi
Cyprus President to meet Fini instead of Berlusconi
Nicosia, Dec 2 (CNA) -- Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos' meeting with Italian Prime Minister and current President of the European Council Silvio Berlusconi scheduled to take place today in Rome has been cancelled due to a flue the latter has been infected by.
 Weather and Temperatures for Cyprus
 Cyprus begins destruction of anti-personnel mines
Cyprus begins destruction of anti-personnel mines
Nicosia, Dec 2 (CNA) -- Thirty anti-personnel mines were destroyed here Tuesday during a ceremony to mark the commencement of the process for the destruction of anti-personnel mines in Cyprus.
The ceremony was held at the Testing Range at Xintou area in Vizakia in the presence of Acting President of the Republic, House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias, ministers and foreign dignitaries, including Jody Williams who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her work to eliminate anti-personnel mines, as well as Ambassador Wolfgang Petrisch, President Designate of Ottawa Conventions First Review Conference.
The first mine was detonated by Christofias, followed by Defence Minister Kyriacos Mavronicolas, Chrysostomos Seas, a Cypriot farmer who lost his leg due to a landmine while working in his field, Williams and Petrisch.
In his speech, Christofias said our principles position on anti-personnel mines is another strong signal to the international community and out Turkish Cypriot compatriots of our determination to strive for a peaceful solution of the Cyprus problem, based on UN resolutions and international law.
He reiterated the governments firm commitment to continued negotiations on the basis of the UN Secretary-Generals plan for finding a functional and viable political settlement, and sincerely hoped that such a solution will be found soon, so that a united Cyprus would accede to the EU on May 1st 2004, for the benefit of all Cypriots, for the benefit of peace on the island, in the region and beyond.
Christofias also said the government of Cyprus attaches great importance to the international effort against mine proliferation and the clearing of minefields, noting that in this context and within the spirit of the Ottawa Convention, the Cyprus government put forward last year to the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus, a proposal for the clearance of all minefields in the buffer zone, laid by the National Guard immediately after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
The Acting President underlined the presence at the ceremony of Jody Williams, whose strong belief in individual action in bringing about change, was recognised through the award of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her work to eliminate anti-personnel mines, as well as the presence of Ambassador Petrisch, President Designate of Ottawa Conventions First Review Conference, who will launch the process for the Conventions First Conference, the 2004 Nairobi summit on a Mine Free World.
He said the launch coincides with todays official ceremony to mark the commencement by the Republic of Cyprus of the destruction of stockpiled anti-personnel mines, the first significant step taken by our country to fulfill our obligations under the Ottawa Convention.
He said it also coincides with the sixth anniversary of the signing of the Mine Ban Treaty in Ottawa in 1997 and with the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Ban Land Mines and Jody Williams in Oslo, as well as with the International Day for Disabled People which is marked around the globe tomorrow, 3rd December.
Christofias also took the opportunity to express gratitude to the government of Canada for its generous contribution of 330 thousand dollars towards the demining of the buffer zone, in an effort to reduce tension and put an end to the threat against innocent human life, thus contributing to the return of these areas to conditions of normality and safety.
In his speech, Defence Minister Kyriacos Mavronicolas said, todays ceremony practically proves that the Republic of Cyprus focuses on the implementation of international treaties and conventions that it signs.
The Defence Minister said he wished to solemnly state that we wish to join our voice together with the million other voices for a world, free of anti-personnel mines and for a world without innocent victims and without unnecessary pain.
Mavronicolas said the governments willingness for a mine-free world is not solely limited to the implementation of the Ottawa Convention but since 1983 we have demined ten mixed minefields, which we have made available for free use while in the last three years alone, we have destroyed more than 11 thousand mines of various types, anti-personnel as well as anti-tank.
He said that at the same time, the Republic of Cyprus has committed itself to go ahead with the clearance of the buffer zone, in cooperation with the UN. This is an action which, unfortunately, until this day did not find the relevant reciprocity from the Turkish side and (Rauf) Denktash.
Certainly our wish and effort is to find a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem which until now, due to the intransigence of the other side, remains unsolved, therefore obstructing the demining of the whole of Cyprus to become a reality.
Welcoming those present, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Sotos Zackheos, said Cyprus signed the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines on 4th December 19997 in Ottawa, deposited the instrument of ratification on 17 January 2003 and, since the 1st July 2003, is a full-state party.
He said that despite the fact that part of Cyprus territory remains under Turkish military occupation and still faces the potential threat of further aggression, Cyprus has become party to the Convention and is committed to faithfully fulfill all its obligations within the prescribed time limits.
Zackheos announced the decision of the Council of Ministers to set up a three-member national committee which is responsible for the National Plan, for the implementation of the convention and will supervise its timely implementation.
He said Cyprus has established a close working relationship with the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining and its close contacts with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and other leading NGOs associated with this cause.
The message that we would like to send from this Testing Range, not as Cypriots but as human beings, is that humanity must not rest until each and every anti-personnel mine is cleared and eliminated, he added.
In his speech, Petrisch said work must continue, despite the great progress achieved in the field of anti-personnel demining.
He pointed out that by signing the Ottawa Convention, Cyprus will contribute to international security and secure that there will be no more victims from these weaponry systems.
He said the great effort of the international community is not enough because many people still suffer from the mines, and we must do whatever possible to have this issue in the governments agenda.
Petrisch said that 141 countries have signed the Ottawa Convention and 31 million anti-personnel mines have been destroyed so far.
On her part, Williams said Cyprus is making a very bold step, by accepting the Ottawa Convention despite the fact that the Cyprus problem remains unsolved.
You have decided to take measures for a peaceful solution of problems and to reinforce international law, she said, assuring that efforts will continue until the last anti-personnel mine in the world is destroyed.
The National Guard has 48 thousand landmines in storage while another 4.600 in minefields. The Greek Cypriot side has 11 minefields in the buffer zone while the Turkish occupation forces 27.
 Government says T/C regime's stance towards T/C workers unjustified
Government says T/C regime's stance towards T/C workers unjustified
Nicosia, Dec 2 (CNA) -- The Cyprus Government has described as ''an unjustified act of the occupation regime'' the decision of the illegal regime not to allow this morning to Turkish Cypriot workers to cross into the government-controlled areas, as they do every day, unless the workers filled in a form for tax payment purposes.
 Cyprus Stock Exchange
 Cyprus condemns terrorist attacks in Iraq
Cyprus condemns terrorist attacks in Iraq
Nicosia, Dec 2 (CNA) - Cyprus unequivocally condemns the latest terrorist attacks in Iraq in which seven Spanish Intelligence agents, two Japanese diplomats and two American soldiers lost their lives.
 MECC 8th General Assembly begins in Limassol
MECC 8th General Assembly begins in Limassol
Limassol, Dec 2 (CNA) - The Middle East Council of Churches' 8th General Assembly began its deliberations here Tuesday with the aim to evaluate the work of the Council and its new programme.
 Turkey compensates Loizidou
Turkey compensates Loizidou
Strasbourg, Dec 2 (CNA) - Turkey appears to have handed over a cheque to Council of Europe Secretary-General Walter Schwimmer, compensating Greek Cypriot Titina Loizidou for the loss of the use of her property in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus.
 President Papadopoulos meets Fini, heads to Nigeria
President Papadopoulos meets Fini, heads to Nigeria
Nicosia, Dec 2 (CNA) - Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos met today in Rome in the context of a working lunch with Italy's Vice President Gianfranco Fini, who replaced ailing Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
 CoE welcomes successful outcome of the Loizidou case
CoE welcomes successful outcome of Loizidou case
Nicosia, Dec 2 (CNA) - The Council of Europe said the conclusion of the case of Titina Loizidou demonstrates the effectiveness of the right of individual appeal available to Europeans, members of CoE, while its Secretary General Walter Schwimmer expressed satisfaction to the Committee of Ministers' Deputies for completing their control of the execution of the ECHR judgment.
 Cyprus and China sign amended maritime protocol
Cyprus and China sign amended maritime protocol
Nicosia, Dec 2 (CNA) - Cyprus and China signed today an amended protocol in the field of maritime. Cyprus Communications and Works Minister Kyriakos Kazamias and Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Hong Shangxiang signed the protocol during a special ceremony.
 Cyprus and Bulgaria sign agreement to combat terrorism
Cyprus and Bulgaria sign agreement to combat terrorism
Nicosia, Dec 2 (CNA) - Cyprus and Bulgaria signed here today an agreement for cooperation in the field of combating terrorism, organised crime and illegal immigration. The agreement was signed by Minister of Justice and Public Order Doros Theodorou and Bulgarian Minister of Interior Georgi Petkanov.
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