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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-12-30

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>


CONTENTS

  • [01] THEOCHAROUS - BOAT - GAZA
  • [02] GAZA - BOAT - CYPRUS
  • [03] CHRISTOFIAS - MISSING PERSONS
  • [04] MAC - BUFFER ZONE - DE-MINING

  • [01] THEOCHAROUS - BOAT - GAZA

    All passengers on board a boat that set sail from Cyprus on Monday for Gaza are well.

    Head of the delegation of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus, former Doctors of the World Cyprus, Democratic Rally MP Eleni Theocharous told CNA on Tuesday morning that ``we are all well`` on board the boat, reported to be hit by the Israelis.

    It was not possible to obtain more details, due to an interruption in the telephone connection.

    [02] GAZA - BOAT - CYPRUS

    The boat carrying medical aid to Gaza ``was hit on its left side`` by the Israelis, Katia Christodoulou, CNA photographer and member of the delegation, told CNA on Tuesday morning.

    ``The boat was hit on its left side. There is a problem with the fuel. We are trying to head to Lebanon, to Sidon. We are fine,`` she said.

    Christodoulou added that there are three or four Israeli warships in the area and that ``we were hit in international waters.``

    ``They are trying to turn us round to return. We do not see this happening. We are probably going to Lebanon. We are all alright,`` she said.

    For the time being there are no means of communication through mobile telephony to or from the passengers on board the boat and the communication with CNA was achieved through an international television channel satellite connection.

    [03] CHRISTOFIAS - MISSING PERSONS

    President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias expressed hope on Monday that all remains of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot missing persons would be identified in 2009, noting that this was owed to the families of missing persons from both communities.

    Speaking after a visit to the laboratory of the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP), President Christofias said that the procedure carried out at the laboratory was ``a positive and important step to ease, to the extent possible, the ordeal of the families,`` noting that what is left is to determine the causes.

    President Christofias, who was accompanied by Presidential Commissioner George Iacovou, met with Greek Cypriot member of the CMP Elias Georgiades and the third member Christof Jirod. Turkish Cypriot member Gulden Plumer Kutsuk is abroad.

    The President thanked the three members of the CMP, as well as the scientific and other staff of the laboratory, and praised them for their strength to carry out their mission. He also expressed gratitude to the chief of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).

    President Christofias assured that the government would continue to contribute to the work of the CMP and would be donating an additional sum of 150,000 euros on Tuesday.

    [04] MAC - BUFFER ZONE - DE-MINING

    Recent landmine-related accidents in Cyprus are a tragic reminder of the need to continue de-mining efforts in the buffer zone, just as their funding risks are running out, the head of the Mine Action Centre Cyprus (MAC) said today. ``Landmines continue to maim and can kill in Cyprus, almost 35 years after they were first laid``, said Michael Raine, Programme Manager of the MAC.

    ``Much progress has been made, but the three accidents in December serve as a tragic reminder that de-mining work is not done``, he added, according to an UNFICYP press release.

    The first accident, on 5 December, involved a group of seven people believed to have crossed from the northern Turkish occupied part of the island. A man stepped on a landmine that blew off part of his right foot. Fragments from the explosion injured his four-year-old son, his wife and one other child. The second accident involved an experienced de-miner whose right hand was seriously injured when a small anti-personnel mine he was attempting to excavate close to Skouriotissa village exploded. The third accident involved a family of three and occurred on 20 December. The location of this accident is not known, although the family was believed to be attempting to cross from the north. A man stepped on a landmine and lost his right foot.

    Raine recalled that thanks to de-mining work, through 2008 over 6 million square meters of land have been returned to productive use and 9163 land mines cleared (5,666 anti-personnel and 3,497 anti-tank). The task of delivering a mine-free buffer zone is 80 per cent complete. However, he underlined that the work risks coming to a halt at the end of January 2009 if more funding is not found soon.


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