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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-12-03

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias has sent a second letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in which he protests the continuation of Turkish harassments against research vessels within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ)of Cyprus.

    In his letter to the UNSG, dated 25 November 2008, President Christofias notes that subsequent to my letter of 14 November 2008, at least three serious incidents took place involving the harassment of research vessels by Turkish warships in the exclusive economic zone of the Republic of Cyprus.

    I find myself in the unpleasant position of expressing my dismay over the continuation of such aggressive actions, the Cypriot President says.

    In his letter, President Christofias explains that on 19 November, two vessels, Harrier Explorer and Marja, were performing oceanographic work within the EEZ south of the coast of Cyprus but after being harassed by the Turkish corvette Bandirma they were obliged to change location.

    On 21 November, two Turkish warships harassed the cargo ship Aquarius G, which is involved in the research, by repeatedly blocking its course until it was forced to return to Cypriot territorial waters.

    Furthermore, on 24 November, the Turkish frigate Gemlik approached Harrier Explorer and Aqarius G and repeated the harassment by blocking the exploratory vessels route, forcing them into dangerous manoeuvres.

    President Christofias adds that despite several attempts by the captain of Harrier Explorer to contact the Turkish captain over the radio, there was no response.

    He notes that the Turkish naval force is constantly stationed within a short distance from the research vessels observing their actions and movements.

    The continuation of these incidents, I am sad to observe, unavoidably impacts negatively on our efforts to reach a negotiated solution to the Cyprus problem. On my part, I am doing everything in my power to protect the process of negotiations and to bring it to a positive conclusion, President Christofias stresses.

    He concludes his letter by underlining the importance he attaches to the international communitys support.

    It is important, at the same time, that the United Nations and the international community support these efforts through effective solidarity, President Christofias notes.

    The Cypriot President`s letter is accompanied by a letter from the Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the United Nations Minas Hadjimichael addressed to the UNSG.

    ``Following the serious incident against which President Christofias protested, through his letter of 14 November 2008, and despite bringing this incident to your attention and that of the Security Council, as well as of the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, the harassment of vessels by Turkish warships within the exclusive economic zone of the Republic of Cyprus has continued unabated, in a systematic and persistent manner, in complete disregard of Cyprus sovereign rights``, Hadjimichael notes in his letter.

    The Republic of Cyprus, an EU member state since 2004, is divided by Turkish troops, which invaded against Cyprus in 1974, and since then occupy one third of Cyprus` territory.


    Executive Director of the American Hellenic Institute (AHI), Nick Larigakis, has said that the US government should exert its pressure on Turkey, so that Ankara stops interfering in the process, which began in September between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, with a view to reach a solution of the Cyprus problem.

    In an interview with CNA, Larigakis said that the US should be calling now for the withdrawal of the Turkish troops, which occupy Cyprus since the invasion of 1974 and expressed disappointment that the US and the EU have not stressed enough Turkey`s violation of international law in Cyprus. He described Cyprus an even more important nation for US interests than Turkey and pointed out that Turkey has proven not to be a faithful ally of the US.

    The Cyprus issue, he noted, is number one on list of AHI`s policy priorities and added that they would send a letter to US President and Vice President elect, Barack Obama and Joe Biden, reminding them of their pre-election statements on Cyprus. In his interview with CNA, Larigakis said also that the US should have supported its ally Greece in the issue of the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).


    Organised international art smugglers, in cooperation or with the tolerance of the Turkish occupation army, have virtually flooded international black markets with stolen icons and other religious and architectural artifacts stolen from the occupied areas of Cyprus, said German professor Klaus Gallas.

    Speaking at a gathering at Dortmund, Germany on the destruction of the cultural heritage in the occupied north, Gallas made an extensive reference to the case of Turkish art dealer Aydin Dikmen in Munich and criticized the German authorities for not giving the go ahead for the return of artifacts which have proved to be of Cypriot origin.

    Turkish born art dealer Aydin Dikmen, is facing charges of illegal export, possession and attempts to sell property belonging to the church of Cyprus.


    The Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (Cyta) and the Syrian Telecommunication Establishment (STE) have signed a package of bilateral agreements, within the framework of their strategic cooperation.

    According to a press release, issued by Cyta, the package includes an agreement for the international cable capacity in Europe, a Memorandum of Understanding for the construction of submarine cable link between Cyprus and Syria, and an agreement for the revision of the international call rates between Cyta and STE.

    The agreements strengthen the traditional relations between the two organisations and reaffirm the strategic role of Cyta as a major cable hub in the Eastern Mediterranean and an excellent center of telecommunication services, in the region, the press release says.

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