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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 10-03-06
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 GOVERNMENT - ECHR RULING - STATEMENTThe government has described as wrong a decision by the European Court of Human Rights which recognises the self-styled immovable property commission (IPC), in Turkish occupied Cyprus, and calls on Greek Cypriots to address themselves to this commission if they want to claim their occupied properties.
The government stressed that the judgment will be respected but it believes that it is a negative development, pointing out that the Court cannot refer property owners to means which are essentially the product of illegality, if they want to seek restitution of their right to their Turkish occupied property.
Nicosia has also stressed that the Court refers to the continuing Turkish occupation of Cyprus northern part and points out Ankaras responsibility to recognise the property rights of Greek Cypriots.
We should not give the impression, as some are doing, that political issues such the Cyprus problem can be resolved in the courts. Political issues are settled at the negotiating table and there we table our positions, having as a tool and a weapon international law, resolutions, conventions on human rights and court rulings, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou has said commenting on the court ruling.
The European Court (ECHR), in Strasbourg, ruled on Friday that the IPC is an effective domestic remedy as far as property claims are concerned, and that Greek Cypriots must first exhaust all domestic remedies before resorting to the ECHR, including the so-called high administrative court in the occupied areas.
The Court, Stephanou pointed out, makes it clear that Greek Cypriots have not lost their title deed on their occupied property and indirectly albeit clearly the Court rejects acts which have transferred such properties illegally to Turkey.
Unfortunately, the Court claims that after 35 years, it is not possible to effect restitution in all cases of Greek Cypriots, owners of property in occupied Cyprus, noting in an arbitrary manner the practical and legal difficulties which might arise and could create new injustice, the Spokesman added.
Turkey, he said, is the occupation power and violates the Republics territorial integrity and international law. One can consequently ask how the Court can refer Greek Cypriots to an illegal commission which is founded on Turkeys unlawful acts, Stephanou remarked.
The Spokesman acknowledged that a series of problems arise from this judgment, adding that the court ruling is also the result of the view of the Court that the volume of work it has to deal with can be eased if it is dealt with on a national level.
This cannot be considered a surprise, for years now the Court had indicated its orientation towards this direction. The huge number of applications filed by Greek Cypriots provided a pretext to the Court to describe the so-called commission as an effective domestic remedy, he added, recalling that Cyprus President Demetris Christofias had warned that mass applications to the Court might run risks which should be avoided.
Asked if the Court ruling could affect the ongoing peace talks for a political settlement, in particular the property issue, he said this specific judgment obviously has its problems, repercussions and ramifications which we will evaluate very carefully to see how exactly to deal with them.
However, we stick to our positions of principle which we have tabled at the talks and which are based on international law and other court decisions. Irrespective of any problems that may arise, we shall continue to claim the rights of the Greek Cypriots and the rights of our people as a whole through the solution of the Cyprus question, Stephanou stressed.
Replying to other questions, he said that in the past the government had recommended great caution with regard to mass applications to the ECHR, because this might have had various repercussions.
Nonetheless, he stressed, then and now nobody can obstruct any citizen, any refugee from claiming his rights, but we also have an obligation, from the political point of view, to point out what should be done collectively to help efforts for a solution.
We had called on people not to address themselves to this illegal commission and I believe everybody can understand why we did this. I want to reiterate that we shall continue our efforts to find a negotiated settlement and in the framework of a comprehensive political settlement to resolve the property issue as well, the Spokesman added.
Cyprus has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion. President Christofias is engaged in talks with the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community to find a political settlement.
 OBAMA - PAPANDREOU - CYPRUS ISSUEThe financial crisis in Greece and the Cyprus issue are the main topics to be discussed on Tuesday at the White House, between Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and U.S. President Barack Obama. The U.S. President as well as Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner are expected to express satisfaction with the budgetary measures announced by the Greek government and offer political support to Greece.
Papandreou and Obama will meet again on Tuesday afternoon at the White House, at the signing ceremony of a Proclamation on the occasion of the March 25 Greek Independence Day. The White House event will be attended by Greek Orthodox Archbishop Demetrios of America as well as other members of the Hellenic American community.
The Greek Prime Minister arrives in the U.S. on Sunday morning. He will be accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas, Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou, Government Spokesman George Petalotis, and Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos. The official contacts of the Greek Prime Minister begin on Monday noon at the State Department with a meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
 PRESIDENT CHRISTOFIAS TALKSThere is progress in the negotiations as regards the issue of governance Cyprus President Demetris Christofias said here Friday, adding that when he and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat decide to make a statement about it they will do so.
He also expressed his satisfaction over the support of the international community in efforts by the Republic of Cyprus to reach a settlement, stressing that we must make our outmost to reach a settlement and that the Cyprus problem cannot be a problem of the EU and the UN forever.
Invited to comment on statements by Talat that the issues agreed during the negotiations are not announced due to possible reactions in the Greek Cypriot side, Christofias said that Talats statements were made for local consumption, noting that it is true that there has been progress in the issue of governance.
He noted that they did not announce these things because they had agreed not to do so and that he did not want to enter this game of what has been agreed and what has not been agreed, adding that if they decide to announce the progress achieved they will do it together.
 ECHR DECISIONThe European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that the immovable property commission (IPC), which was set up in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus, constitutes an effective domestic remedy.
According to the decision of the Courts Grand Chamber, issued Friday, Greek Cypriots must first exhaust domestic remedies before resorting to the ECHR in cases regarding violation of their human rights by Turkey, which, since 1974, occupies 37% of Cyprus territory. The decision on the application Demopoulos vs Turkey and 7 others is final and not subject to any appeal to either the Court or any other body.
Referring to the Courts decision, one of the applicants lawyers, Achilleas Demetriades, said that the decision clarifies that the immovable property commission constitutes a domestic remedy of the government of Turkey and not of the so called state, which was set up in the occupied areas and is recognized only by Turkey. The decision, he continued, says that Turkey continues to be responsible for the violation of human rights in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus.
This decision does not at all change the position in the international law that in the Turkish occupied areas there is Turkish occupation and that the so called illegal Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus continues to be a local administration, subject to Turkey, he pointed out. He explained that Greek Cypriots, who will choose to resort to the immovable property commission will apply, see how the procedure progresses, see if the remedy is satisfactory, and if it is not, they will be able to resort to the high administrative court in the occupied areas and if they are not satisfied they may then resort to the ECHR.
The immovable property commission, he went on to say, accepts the title deeds of the Republic of Cyprus, since Turkey accepts that Greek Cypriots are the legal owners of their land in the Turkish occupied areas. He said that based on the Courts decision, Greek Cypriots will first have to resort to the Turkish immovable property commission in the occupied areas of Cyprus, before resorting to the ECHR.
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