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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 07-10-03

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Members of the European Parliament Transport Committee, currently visiting Cyprus at the invitation of Cypriot MEP Ioannis Kasoulides, have sent a message to Turkey that it must open its ports and airports to the Republic of Cyprus.

    ``It is clear that Turkey has to obey the treaties they have signed to open their ports and airports for the use by Cyprus and Cyprus-run companies,`` head of the delegation, German MEP of the European People`s Party Georg Jarzembowski said.

    He added that on their return to Brussels, the MEPs would seek a meeting with Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn, from whom they would request that the Commission insists that Turkey must lift the restrictions it is imposing against the Republic of Cyprus.

    ``It is not possible that a country like Turkey wants to become a member of the EU and is negotiating with the EU for its membership but does not allow ships and airplanes from one of the 27 member states to enter its territories and even violates the agreement it has signed to open the airports and ports. This is very important,`` he said, adding that ``when we go back we will talk to Commissioner Rehn again that within the negotiation of Turkey he will have to insist that these bans of the Turkish authorities on airports and ports have to be lifted.``

    Italian MEP Luca Romagnoli of the Identity, Tradition and Sovereignty Group at the European Parliament spoke about the problems faced by the Civil Aviation authority of Cyprus by the illegal airport of Tympos in the Turkish occupied areas.

    ``Europe must find a solution. From what they told us it is a problem for all EU citizens coming to Cyprus. Our Committee should propose an initiative to the Commission to try to solve this problem,`` he noted.

    The MEPs also referred to Cyprus` plans to join a group of countries, comprising Malta, Greece and Italy, for the better management of their air traffic.

    Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.


    The President of the House of Representatives Demetris Christofias has described as productive the most recent session of the House, during which it passed 262 bills into law, it endorsed 21 bills of law and approved 124 regulations. Speaking at a press conference ahead of Thursdays opening of the House, after the summer recess, Christofias said as of next year the Legal Information System will be in place to serve the staff at the House, the civil service and the public at large.

    He said the office automation system, which will link electronically the state machinery, the House and the Courts, already operating on a pilot basis, aims to communicate all printed material electronically by the autumn. The work done this past session of the House of Representatives was voluminous and productive in all areas of the legislative but there were also problems, Christofias said.

    House Committees met at 769 meetings and they examined 98 explanatory notes about hiring of staff in the civil service and the semi-government organizations. We have recorded a spectacular increase by 55 per cent in the questions raised by the deputies to the competent ministers and 714 issues were tabled for discussion at Committee level while another 10 were brought to the plenary, six of whom were debated, he said.

    Referring to problems the House has encountered, he said absence of a quorum was one of them, the big number of bills of law tabled, many of them were considered unconstitutional and the large number of visits by the House Committees. Christofias said these problems were the focus of a meeting during which he called on MPs to respect the House rules and added that internal procedures have been put in place to this effect. He welcomed an EU Commission decision to send directly to all national parliaments EU legal documents as well as recommendations.


    Council of Europe Secretary-General Terry Davis has described as ``unfortunate`` statements by the Turkish President about the existence of two religions in Cyprus.

    Abdullah Gul claimed, during an illegal visit to the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus on September 18, that there are ``two democracies, two states, two languages and two religions`` on the island.

    ``I think that (Gul`s) reference to two religions was unfortunate,`` Davis said replying to a question by CNA.

    Gull will be addressing the CoE`s Parliamentary Assembly tomorrow but will not be meeting Davis. ``I have not been asked,`` for a meeting, Davis said.

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