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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-08-09

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The official ceremony to welcome the Cypriot mission to the Olympic Village in Beijing has taken place, in the presence of President of the Republic Demetris Christofias.

    Cyprus is participating in the Beijing Olympiad in a spirit of fair play and at the same time is fighting for reunification, peace and friendship for its people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, President Christofias said in his speech at the ceremony, referring to continuous efforts to reunite the country, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

    The President said he would be pleased if Cyprus were to win an Olympic medal but he also hastened to add: the most valuable medal for us which we want is the medal of peace.

    Our flag has been hoisted at the Olympic Village and this lifts our hearts because we are at a place where peace, cooperation, friendship and solidarity among people lauds and solidarity is what Cyprus needs, he added.

    President Christofias stressed that the Cypriot athletes will compete in the Olympics in a spirit of fair play.

    Present at the ceremony were the President of the Cyprus Olympic Committee, Kikis Lazarides, Chief of the Cypriot delegation to the Olympics, Alecos Spanos and Cypriot athletes.

    Lazarides said the Games are well underway without any problems. He described the opening ceremony on Friday as an excellent spectacle which presented Chinese history and culture and the Olympic Torch was lit in a memorable manner.

    He said he expects the Cypriot athletes to do their best to honour their country and welcomed the presence of President Christofias as a sign of support.

    The primary objective is for our athletes to qualify for the finals in the sport they are competing in. I wish them all good luck, he added.

    The Cypriot mission to Beijing offered the Major of the Olympic Village a gift from Cyprus, a depiction of the ancient ship of Kyrenia. Present at the ceremony were also Government Spokesman, Stephanos Stephanou, Director of the Presidential Office, Vasos Georgiou and Cyprus Ambassador to China, Marios Ieronimides.

    Lazarides said that the presence of children at the ceremony, participating in the Olympic Programme Heart to heart, was very emotional. They sang for the Cypriot Olympic team.

    The Cypriot team comprises 17 athletes, competing in various sports such as skeet, mens high jump, track, javelin, pole vault, windsurfing, sailing (laser) sailing (Finn), swimming, mens weightlifting and archery.


    Presidential Commissioner George Iacovou will have a meeting in two weeks time with Ozdil Nami, top advisor to the Turkish Cypriot leader, exclusively on the issue of opening a crossing point at Limnitis, which would facilitate movement to and from the islands northern Turkish occupied areas. Speaking to CNA, Iacovou said the meeting on Limnitis, on the northwest, was decided at the last meeting of the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities, on July 25.

    Replying to questions, Iacovou said the Turkish Cypriot side has not yet given any answer to a request by Limnitis area residents (in Kato Pyrgos village) to travel to the Turkish occupied town of Morphou on September 2 on a pilgrimage to Saint Mamas church. We anticipate and hope for a positive reply especially after hundreds of Turkish Cypriots were able to cross through Limnitis area on Friday, to go to Kokkina, without any problem, he added.

    Every year Turkish Cypriots, living in the northern Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus, cross through the government controlled part of the country to visit Kokkina area, to attend ceremonies marking the 1964 bombing of Tilliria area, during intercommunal fighting. Iacovou pointed out however that opening on a permanent basis a crossing point at Limnitis remains a strategic issue for the government. Greek and Turkish Cypriot residents in Limnitis area demand the opening of a crossing point to cut short a lengthy journey to the capital Nicosia. So far, this has not been achieved.


    Relatives of victims of an air crash, three years ago, continue to demand justice and say that those responsible for the death of 121 people, on board an HELIOS airliner, must be punished. The relatives of the victims, most whom were Cypriots, are holding a candle lit vigil at the islands main cities, in the central squares in Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaka, and Paralimni.

    Speaking to CNA, the President of the Committee of Relatives of Victims Nicolas Yiasoumis said that almost three years after the crash at Grammatiko mountain, north of Athens, relatives and friends of the victims are organising this event with candle lighting to keep alive the memory of their loved ones. Unfortunately, three years after the air crash there is still the same slogan: 121 dead asking for justice, Yiasoumis said, adding that no more delays can be justified as time will exonerate those who are guilty of any responsibility.

    On 14 August 2005, an Helios Airways Boeing 737, on its way to Prague via Athens, crashed into the mountain side north of the Greek capital, killing all 121 passengers and crew on board, most of them Cypriot holidaymakers. Two commissions of inquiry into the cause of the crash have issued their reports one in Greece which was made public and one in Cyprus whose findings are with the Attorney General. No charges have been brought against anybody so far. Relatives of the victims have however filed lawsuits against Helios, Boeing and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Republic of Cyprus.

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