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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 07-01-11

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    President Tassos Papadopoulos has stressed that the security of the people will not be jeopardized for the sake of creating impressions and gaining credit from abroad, as far as efforts to open a crossing point at the end of one of Nicosias most commercial streets, Ledra street, are concerned.

    He also pointed out that the Turkish military, as the occupying power in the north of Cyprus, has imposed its will on the Turkish Cypriots, declaring that it will stay put in the area of Ledra street, where an illegally constructed bridge by the occupation regime was removed earlier this week.

    We have no intention of sacrificing the security of the people for the sake of certain gimmicks, or for creating impressions in order to gain credit from foreigners and hear that we display good will, the President stressed spealing in Larnaca district.

    The removal of a few steps, which form the bridge, is not exactly the whole issue when at the same time the vicinity, which is in the UN-controlled buffer zone, is now claimed by the Turkish military, the President added.

    He explained that the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Mehmet Ali Talat, who had announced the demolition of the bridge apparently prior to securing the consent of the Turkish military, simply obeyed the calls of the military as an obedient servant.

    Talat has proceeded with the demolition of the bridge as a face-saving exercise, he noted.

    Papadopoulos recalled that it was the Cypriot government that had proposed the opening of eight separate crossings to and from the northern Turkish occupied part of the island.

    Every crack in the wall that divides Cyprus is progress. When the number of crossings is numerous, then the dividing line collapses, he said, pointing out that the Turkish side rejected this proposal.

    He said that the Greek Cypriot side seeks to open another crossing point, ensuring the withdrawal of the Turkish army and the demanning of the area at the centre of the capital, explaining that the case of Ledra street is not exactly the same as other locations where crossing points have been opened to facilitate contact between the islands two communities.

    Demolishing an illegally built bridge is not a grand gesture on the part of the occupation power for which we are asked to give something in exchange, the President emphasized in his speech.

    Responding to calls by the main opposition party Democratic Rally to meet Talat, he said such a meeting must be well prepared, in line with the July agreement between himself and Talat, which provides for meetings between the two to review implementation of what had been agreed in addition to ongoing meetings between their respective aides. So far no progress has been achieved in meetings between the aides, due to unwillingness on the part of the Turkish Cypriot side to work constructively.

    The President stressed that issues relating to the military are discussed by the top brass and not the politicians, and indicated that one must not encourage to Turkeys propaganda and we must bear in mind that the demolition of the steps of the bridge is not a demolition of the illegal constructions put up by the Turkish Cypriots in this area.

    The Greek Cypriot side is seeking in earnest a political settlement, we are ready for a solution but a real solution that will reunite the country and its people. We must not forget that he who has been sinned against cannot make any concessions, he concluded.

    He described as ``very unfortunate`` a statement by the opposition leader that the demolition is an act of resistance by the Turkish Cypriots.

    The Presidents remarks came as the Turkish Cypriot regime, in occupied Cyprus, demolished a bridge they had constructed months ago, contrary to calls from Nicosia and the international community not to do so.


    Defence Minister Nicos Symeonides is in a serious but stable condition at the Intensive Care Unit of the Nicosia General Hospital, after suffering a heart attack while undergoing a biopsy on his lungs.

    The 68-year-old minister was admitted to hospital last Friday with symptoms of pneumonia. He was put on a respirator at the Intensive Care Unit.

    Specialists from Greece and Israel joined their Cypriot colleagues to determine the cause of Symeonides illeness and decide his treatment.

    Health Minister Charis Charalambous described Symeonides condition as serious but stable.

    President Tassos Papadopoulos is being constantly informed of his ministers condition. He said last night that doctors had expressed concern over the deterioration of the Defence Ministers condition.


    The Church of Cyprus is protesting strongly the continuing plundering of religious sites, in the Turkish-occupied northern part of the country, condemning the ongoing desecration of Christian churches, some of which have been converted to mosques, military camps, hen houses, mortuaries or silos. As experts record the overall looting campaign in the past three decades, since the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, with about 550 churches desecrated, between 15-20,000 icons missing, believed to be stolen or sold on the black market, a well orchestrated and concerted effort is underway to protest at all international fora this situation.

    We have embarked on a crusade to inform world public opinion through every available means - lectures, literary material, personal contacts, diplomatic channels - presenting indisputable evidence which has been corroborated through careful and professional research carried out on the matter, Charalambos Hotzakoglu, archaeologist by profession and an expert in Byzantine art working for the museum of the Kykko Monastery, has told CNA in an interview. He said the goal is to save these religious sites, a task vehemently opposed by the Turkish side which claims that all sites now belong to the Moslem religious foundation EVKAF.

    Researchers of the Kykko Monastery, who have visited and photographed some 550 churches in occupied Cyprus, say that 50 of them are now military camps - the church of Virgin Mary Axeropiitou in Lambousa village, Agios Panteleimonas in Mirtou village, the church and monastery of Agia Anastasia in Lapithos village is now a luxury hotel complex, the monastery of Agios Panteleimonas is used as a fuel depot and the church of Sotiros in Chrysiliou village in Morphou district now serves as a mortuary.

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