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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-12-31

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [02] CYPRIOT FM - EU - GAZA


    President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias has expressed hope that 2009 will bring freedom to the island, which has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

    President Christofias, accompanied by First Lady Elsie Christofia, was speaking at the Presidential Palace, where the Police, the National Guard and the Greek Forces in Cyprus (ELDYK) bands played Christmas carols.

    Addressing the members of the Police band, President Christofias wished for ``peace and freedom in Cyprus and Palestine`` and a speedy recovery for the infants being treated in hospital after falling seriously ill in a private clinic.

    In his remarks to the National Guard band, President Christofias said the National Guard must always be ready to defend the country, noting however that the solution to the Cyprus problem must be found ``on the right basis for the benefit of the people`` and that the Turkish occupation must end and the people be reunited.

    Addressing the ELDYK band, President Christofias wished that next year everyone would live in a more peaceful world.

    [02] CYPRIOT FM - EU - GAZA

    Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou has stressed the urgent need for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, adding that it is very important to send humanitarian aid to those in need as soon as possible. He also invited the European Union to use Cyprus as a means for the dispatch of humanitarian aid to Gaza.

    Addressing on Tuesday the extraordinary meeting of European Union Foreign Ministers, Kyprianou said there cannot be a military solution to the situation in Gaza and called on the EU to support Egypt, the Arab League and the Palestinian Authority in their efforts to achieve inter-Palestinian reconciliation. The Minister said the EU must display immediate solidarity with the victims of the hostilities in the Gaza Strip and proposed that Cyprus is used for the dispatch of humanitarian aide.

    The government of Cyprus, he stressed, is very willing to facilitate in every possible way the efforts of the EU presidency and the EU for an immediate ceasefire and an overall solution. Earlier on Tuesday, the Cypriot Minister discussed the latest developments in Gaza with the Foreign Ministers of Egypt and the Palestinian Authority.


    The dignity of Europe, which has not reacted to the Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip, has been tarnished, just as "SS Dignity" has been damaged by the Israeli navy, Cypriot MP Eleni Theocharous has said on her return home, after "SS Dignity", which tried to break the Israeli blockage of Gaza to take humanitarian aid to the Palestinians, was intercepted and hit by the Israeli navy. ``One way or another, Israel has never displayed dignity in these issues,`` Theocharous said, adding that ``Israel is behaving like a terrorist state, using the support of superpowers and the military machine it has created, in order to slaughter peoples under its occupation.``

    On Monday, SS Dignity, carrying three Cypriots, including Theocharous, and other volunteers sailed from the southern port of Larnaca for Gaza to take humanitarian and medical aid. The Israeli navy intercepted the boat and hit its left side, forcing it to change course and head for Lebanon. The mission was for the time being aborted and the three Cypriots returned home by air, via Beirut. Theocharous said that the boat was travelling on its course, in line with international law. ``We did not violate any rule and the interception occurred in international waters, 73 km west of Haifa, and this is a violation of international law and a crime against humanity. What happened was attempted murder,`` she pointed out. Describing the dramatic moments of the collision, Theocharous said that ``we were thrice thrown from one side of the boat to the other and in the end we landed on the floor.``

    Theocharous noted that the decision to sail to Lebanon was kept secret. Nevertheless, she added, the destination of the boat was not kept secret, because as soon as the boat changed course, CNN announced that the mission was heading to Lebanon. Theocharous praised the representations of the Cypriot government about the incident, thanks to which the boat was allowed to moor in Lebanon. SS Dignity is being guarded at Tyre port in Lebanon on the instructions of the Lebanese President, after representations made by the Republic of Cyprus.


    Cyprus accession to the euro-area acts as a protection shield against the fallout of the current international financial crisis, the Governor of the Central Bank Athanasios Orphanides believes. In a message, to mark one year since joining the euro, he said the EU currency, which Cyprus adopted as its legal tender on January 1 this year, provides long-term opportunities and acts as a springboard for the right use of new prospects which open up further progress and development.

    We must have steady adherence to the right choices and the timely drafting of a realistic strategy, he said, adding that this could help create a stronger and more flexible economy which will be in a position to address successfully intense competition within the euro-area. Describing accession to the euro-zone a historic development, Orphanides recalled that the road to the euro introduced many modern changes which aligned Cyprus with modern economic notions and European reality.

    The strategy which was adopted and the wise monetary policy the Central Bank has applied resulted in currency stability and contributed to a great extent to a successful membership of the euro-area, he remarked. One of the important benefits Cyprus has experienced from joining the euro is the protection of the economy from negative fluctuations in the world economic environment and this has had tangible value, in particular in the last few months of 2008, the Governor pointed out.

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