|Sunday, 17 December 2017|
Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 09-09-28
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 PRESIDENT - CUBA - MEDALPresident of Cyprus Republic Demetris Christofias has been awarded the highest honorary distinction of the State of Cuba, the medal of the national hero Jose Marti. Cuban President, General Raul Castro, bestowed the medal on President Christofias during a special ceremony at the Palace of the Revolution, in Havana.
Addressing the Cuban President, President Christofias said that he is in Cuba as the President of Cyprus Republic but at the same time as an old comrade and friend of Cuba and the revolution.
He stressed that this great honor belongs first of all to the first President of Cyprus Republic, the late Archbishop Makarios III, who sent to Cuba the first ship trying to break the embargo the USA had imposed on Cuba.
President Christofias noted that Archbishop Makarios and Fidel Castro were co-founders of the Non-Aligned Movement. He expressed the gratitude of the Cypriot people to the leadership and the people of Cuba for their solidarity to the straggle of Cyprus. Our straggles are common. Cyprus and Cuba are always together.
In his toast, which was red out by the General Secretary of the State Council of Cuba, President Raul Castro noted that the Cuban people recognize Cyprus President as the President of a fraternal nation. He recalled that Cyprus was the first country to have sent a ship to Cuba to break the US embargo and underlined that President Christofias is the first President of an EU member state visiting Cuba.
Castro mentioned that the medal of Jose Marti was awarded to President Christofias in recognition of his solidarity and respect towards Cuba and its people.
 UN - CYPRUS - TALKSA UN spokesman has reaffirmed the readiness of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to assist the Cyprus peace effort, stressing the need for compromise. Speaking after a meeting in New York between Ban and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Mehmet Ali Talat, the spokesman said that the Secretary-General met this morning with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, and welcomed Mr. Talat`s commitment to achieving a solution to the Cyprus problem. The Secretary-General, he noted, urged the two leaders to stay the course and seize the critical and historic opportunity presented by their ongoing talks.
Speaking at a press conference, UN Assistant SG Lyn Pascoe said that Ban had met both Talat and the President of Cyprus Demetris Christofias. The UN chief had very good conversation with both of them on how to speed the peace process to bring it to a conclusion, Pascoe added. The UN, he continued, want to help both sides to reach a conclusion and will do everything they can to help in this direction. This is an urgent matter, he pointed out. There has never been a better opportunity, barring the Annan plan, and there have never been a better chance when the sides converged and press on with the matter at hand, he added.
President Christofias and Talat have been engaged in talks since September 2008 to try and find a mutually acceptable solution to reunite Cyprus, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.
 UNFICYP - VETERANS WW 2The United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus have hosted a special ceremony on the occasion of International Day of Peace, which was attended by member of the Cyprus World War II Veterans Association. Twenty thousands Cypriots, both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, fought in various war fields in Egypt, North Africa, Middle East, Greece, Italy and France during the World War II. Six hundred of them lost their lives and were buried in 50 cemeteries in 16 different countries. The President of Cyprus World War II Veterans Association, Loizos Demetriou who spoke at the ceremony, has told CNA that in all war battles Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots fought together in the same trenches and shared the same tent. He served in Palestine, Egypt, Iraq and England. Ten thousands Cypriots who lived abroad at the time also fought on the side of the Allied forces, he added.
Asked, as a war veteran, on the occasion of International Peace Day to make a wish for Cyprus, Demetriou said the most important thing for Cypriots is the solution of the political problem. We do everything we can to find a solution, to satisfy the Cypriots because both communities want a solution, he noted. Answering the same question a Turkish Cypriot World War II veteran, Tahsin Aliriza said: They (leaders of the two communities) continue talking, may God help them to find peace, to do something for Cyprus. Aliriza said that he served in the British Royal Air Force between 1943 1949. Aliriza now lives in the northern Turkish occupied areas of Nicosia.
UNFICYP Force Commander, Mario Sanchez Debernardi said that the International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by the UN General Assembly and twenty years later, it was decided to observe this day on 21 September as a day of non violence, devoted to the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and people. He said he believes that the prospects for a comprehensive solution in Cyprus are better now than they have been for a long time. He noted the resumption of full fledged negotiations for a lasting solution to reunite the island, saying that Cypriot veterans are the ultimate proof that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots can unite for the greater good. You Cypriots, he concluded, have helped to bring peace to the world, fighting for peace almost seven decades ago.
 CYPRUS - GREECE - RESEARCHA ten-member scientific team, from Cyprus and Greece, will undertake a study on the coexistence of genetically modified, conventional and organic crops, in a bid to prove possible risks of such coexistence, aiming at the protection of agricultural products in Cyprus. The Environment Agency of the Cyprus Ministry of Agriculture signed on Monday a contract for the study with the Research Committee of the University of Thessaly, in Greece. The study is expected to be concluded in twelve months. Minister of Agriculture Michalis Polynikis, pointed out that it is a pioneering study, because this is the first time the coexistence of genetically modified food with conventional and organic crops will be scientifically examined, for maize, potato and oilseed rape.
There will be an assessment of the environmental, economic and social impact, as well as an assessment of risk scenarios, which would include the possible fallout, Polynikis said. The Minister of Agriculture noted that the ultimate goal of this study is to provide the Republic of Cyprus with scientific tools that will allow the ban of cultivation of genetically modified products in Cyprus. Professor of the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Thessaly Dimitris Kouretas expressed the belief that the scientific assessment of the possible coexistence will highlight risks which are likely to lead to the protection of agricultural products in Cyprus and to give them added value and cost.
The group that will conduct the research consists of ten scientists, with diverse activities in their field, especially on the issue of genetically modified organisms, with important scientific work in Greece and Europe. Cyprus since its accession to the EU in May 2004 has maintained a firm position against the authorisation of genetically modified organisms, aiming to protect human health, agriculture and environment. As the Minister of Agriculture explained, Cyprus, due to its special characteristics, has managed to include a specific provision in the text of the conclusions of the Ministerial Environment Council in December 2008, which allow the country to implement specific management measures, restrictions and bans on the cultivation of genetically modified food.
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