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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-09-01

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Cypriot President Demetris Christofias has expressed regret over a decision by the Turkish Cypriot regime not to give permission to Greek Cypriots to pass through the Limnitis crossing point for a pilgrimage, in Turkish occupied Morphou, on the north west.

    This decision saddens us, President Christofias said, adding that the decision would overshadow a bit the climate ahead of the commencement of direct talks between himself and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat on September 3rd, aiming at reunifying Cyprus, which has been divided since the Turkish invasion of 1974.

    In statements before departing for Brussels to attend the extraordinary European Council on the situation in Georgia, President Christofias said that the occupation regimes decision can by no means be justified.

    The decision not to allow Greek Cypriot pilgrims access through Limnitis to the Turkish occupied church of Saint Mamas in Morphou area to pray, on Tuesday to celebrate the saints day, was announced Friday to Presidential Commissioner George Iacovou, at a meeting he had with Talas top aide.

    The government had asked the Turkish Cypriot occupation regime to allow Greek Cypriot pilgrims to visit Saint Mamas church, following the permission granted by the government to Turkish Cypriots to visit Kokkina, as part of celebrations to mark the bombing of Greek Cypriot villages in the area during intercommuncal clashes in 1964.

    In his statements, President Christofias said he agreed with the decision of the Bishop of Morphou Neofytos not to cross to the occupied church of Saint Mamas to hold a Mass.

    "Of course the climate now does not please us. On the other hand we should not consider this as something which sabotages our efforts ahead of the negotiations, the President said.

    He added that these facts do not please us at all, they rather sadden us. Of course the climate would have been much more fertile, if pilgrims were allowed to pass through the Limnitis crossing point to go to the church of Saint Mamas.

    This will slightly overshadow the climate of the talks," the Cypriot President noted.

    Referring to the direct negotiations for a Cyprus solution which will begin September 3rd, he said that the Greek Cypriot side will proceed to the negotiations with prudence, saying we are in favour of good will from both sides. We do not favour a one-sided expression of good will on our behalf.

    He said he would prove this to Talat and expressed hope that in the future the occupation forces and Turkey will realise that the Greek Cypriot side is not going to the negotiations to surrender.

    Answering questions, he said he discussed the issue in a telephone conversation with Talat to whom he protested about what has happened.

    Talat has assured me he would soon take action to open the Limnitis crossing point. He also asked me to convey to the Bishop of Morphou and to the people his views, he said.

    President Christofias added Talat may want, and I believe he does want (the opening of Limnitis), but I wish and I hope that others want this as well, others who have prevented the opening of the Limnitis crossing point, or who have prevented people from passing through Limnitis to go to Morhpou.

    Asked what justification was given by Talat for the decision, President Christofias wondered if there is any justification at all and added I think there is no justification.

    He added that the Turkish Cypriot side has been informed about the issue long time ago and although they have given assurances that they would allow the crossing of pilgrims, they did not keep their word.

    They have been informed about it long ago. They have given assurances which have not been kept``, he said.

    He called for seriousness and restraint from the Greek Cypriot side.

    Several crossing points operate along the demarcation line, which divides Cyprus into the northern Turkish occupied areas and the southern government controlled part of the country, to facilitate movement of people. Passage through Limnitis area, on the northwest, would cut short the journey to Morphou for Greek Cypriot residents in the area.


    UN Secretary General Special Envoy for Cyprus Alexander Downer arrived on the island, in view of the beginning of direct talks between President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, on Wednesday, aiming at a political settlement of the protracted Cyprus question.

    Speaking to the press at Larnaca airport, Downer said he is back on the island with a degree of optimism and that he was very much looking forward to the formal launch of the talks on Wednesday, September 3.

    I think it looks to be a low key affair but I think it is important that the process is getting underway. I came back here with a degree of optimism because I know that the leadership is committed to a successful negotiating process. I have no elusions on how difficult this is but in any case I am looking forward to it, Downer noted.

    He said he will be spending some time talking to a wide range of people and that this time he will be staying a little bit longer than before. I will still be here on the 11th of September when the talks get going in earnest, he added.


    The House of Representatives will resume work, after the summer recess, on October 2, with an innovation which will help voting procedures - an electronic ballot system expected to operate during the first plenary session.

    Acting Director General of the House of Representatives Socrates Socratous told CNA on Monday that as of Tuesday, the House Committees will begin their meetings, with the Commerce Committee being the first to convene. Members will be briefed by Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Antonis Pashalides on high prices, racketeering and consumer protection.

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