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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 09-02-06

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] REHN - CYPRUS TALKS
  • [02] UNFICYP - TURKISH TROOPS
  • [03] UN - CYPRUS - SHIP

  • [01] REHN - CYPRUS TALKS

    The UN-led negotiation process underway could lead to a solution of the Cyprus problem by 2010, Olli Rehn, European Union`s Commissioner for Enlargement has said.

    Rehn`s comment came as UN-led negotiating process marked 18 meetings between Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, in a bid to bring about a settlement to the problem of Cyprus, divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

    ``On Cyprus, a settlement process is underway that could lead to the reunification of the island, possibly starting already next year,`` Rehn said, in an address to the European Economic and Social Committee entitled ``Enlargement policy in 2009 - an outlook.``

    Describing Turkey as ``a strategic partner for the EU,`` Rehn said Turkey - EU accession negotiations ``are proceeding at a modest but steady pace.``

    ``I am pleased that there has been some progress with freedom of expression, with the amendment of Article 301 of the penal code,`` adding that the rights of non-Muslim religious minorities have also been strengthened by the adoption of a new law on foundations. ``Still, much remains to be done,`` he concluded.

    [02] UNFICYP - TURKISH TROOPS

    Cyprus Defence Parliamentary Committee Chairman Yiannakis Omirou has branded ``false and deceptive`` a report on the number of Turkish occupation troops in Cyprus released earlier by Chief of Staff of the United Nations Peace-Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), British Colonel Gerard Hughes.

    In a report leaked to the press, Hughes said that the Turkish occupation troops in Cyprus numbered 21,000 in addition to 3,000 soldiers of the so-called Turkish Cypriot ``security forces,`` totaling 24,000 soldiers.

    Cyprus National Guard Commander, Lieutenant General Constantinos Bisbikas, briefed the Defence Committee on Thursday on the number of the occupation forces.

    Omirou revealed afterwards that the National Guard Chief had presented ``undisputed figures`` about the number of Turkish soldiers occupying the northern part of this east Mediterranean island. He said Turkish troops numbered between 42,000 and 44,000.

    [03] UN - CYPRUS - SHIP

    The Sanctions Commission of the UN Security Council is keeping its works under wraps regarding the Cypriot-flagged ship ``Monchegorsk``, which docked at Limassol Port.

    Replying to questions, the spokesman of the US permanent delegation said the Commission`s Japanese presidency has requested total confidentiality, which the US administration is observing.

    Meanwhile, US State Department Deputy Spokesman Robert Wood, to questions regarding the ship, referred the reporters to the Pentagon. To a remark that there were suspicions that the ship was taking arms to Hamas in Gaza and asked how the US administration came to this conclusion against the Republic of Cyprus, Wood said he did not think the US came to any conclusion against the government of Cyprus.

    On Thursday, the Japanese president of the Commission circulated a draft decision to the members. If no objections are raised by Friday, it will be considered approved.


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