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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 10-05-31

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Cyprus government condemns the assault by Israelis against the flotilla of activists carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, President of the Republic Demetris Christofias has said, expressing the belief that Israel will be condemned by the international community for this assault.

    No one is happy, first of all with continuing blockade, which followed the attack against Gaza in December 2008, with the catastrophic results on Palestinians, President Christofias said, invited to comment on the assaults of the Israelis.

    The continuing of this blockade violates the International Law and challenges the human rights of each of us, he added.

    Consequently, the position of principle of the government of Cyprus is well known on this issue, President Christofias said, pointing out that the death of non-combatants is a condemnable action that constitutes a crime.

    Replying to a question, President Christofias said that the EU has already reacted on the assault, and expressed his conviction that the United Nations and other international organization, will react as well.

    Invited to comment on the governments decision to forbid the sailing of ships from Cyprus to Gaza, President Christofias stressed the decision was taken with a view to serve the vital interests of the country. These interests concern the occupation of Cyprus and the problems we face from several actions taken by Turkey towards foreign countries, including Israel, he said.

    President Christofias also said that the leaders of the activists should have respected the decision of the Republic of Cyprus to forbid the sailing of their ships from Cyprus to Gaza, bearing in mind the stance of the Republic of Cyprus and himself towards the issue of Palestine. Unfortunately, they have not respected us, and I am sorry about that, he said.

    Asked if the government was aware of the determination of the Israelis to attack, and for that reason the government forbidden the sailing of the ships, President Christofias stressed that he could not have known that.


    Cyprus Government reiterates its position for the immediate, continuing and unconditional access of humanitarian aid, commercial products and humans to and from Gaza, Cyprus Foreign Ministry stresses in an announcement.

    In view of the Israeli military operation against the flotilla of activists carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, Foreign Ministry announces that it closely monitors the situation, and that the relevant Services are ready to offer any kind of humanitarian aid.

    Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Nicos Emiliou has given directions to the Director of the Political Affairs Division to call the Ambassador of Israel in the Republic of Cyprus and to ask for an official briefing and information on the Israeli Armed Forces operation. In addition, the Ministry has given directions to the Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to Tel Aviv, to seek official information on whether citizens of the Republic of Cyprus were on board, and their condition. So far, there is no information for Cypriots that are on board or that are in danger.


    UN Secretary Generals Special Advisor on Cyprus issue Alexander Downer has expressed hope the two leaders in Cyprus, President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, to constructively and positively engaged in the discussion on property issue and to achieve many convergences.

    Speaking here Monday, after a meeting he had with Secretary General of left wing ruling party AKEL Andros Kyprianou, Downer said that the UN are pleased with the way the negotiations resumed. He said that there will be another meeting of the leaders this Thursday. We hope that there will be substantial momentum; they are talking about the issue of property, its obviously a longstanding issue on the agenda and we look forward to the leaders engaging in those discussions constructively and positively and hopefully they will achieve many convergences.

    Replying to a question about the goal of reaching a settlement by the end of the year, Downer said the Turkish Cypriots and the Turkish government as well have made it clear that they want to see an agreement by the end of the year. Obviously, from our point of view, the sooner there is an agreement, the better. We have never, as the UN, set any specific time line but we have always said we want to see substantial momentum in the negotiations. We dont want to see them stalled, if you like, he added.

    Invited to say what he considers the parameters of the UN for a solution, since in the Secretary-Generals message, the base on which the discussion will take place are the parameters of the UN, the agreements of 23 May and 8 July 2008 and the UN resolutions, Downer said its all there in the SGs statement. I am not going to add to what the Secretary General himself has said and getting into a long analysis of this, Downer said, noting that the leaders have now set the talks going again. They are focusing on the property issue now, so I think our attention should be directed towards that. I dont want to add to anything the SG himself, he is the boss on these matters, he pointed out.


    Chinas Guanxi autonomous region health services and the Thalassemia International Federation (TIF) signed here on Monday a memorandum of cooperation, with a view to promote the implementation of programmes to control thalassemia in Guanxi where approximately 20% of the population, which is up to 50 million, are carriers of thalassemia. Cyprus will contribute to the implementation of this memorandum with the provision of its know-how in this area to Chinese competent services.

    Every year half a million thalassemics are born all over the world while 7% of the worlds population is bearer of thalassemia. The memorandum was signed by Guanxi governor Ma Biao and TIF President Panos Englezos, in the presence of Cyprus first lady Elsi Christofia and Health Minister Christos Patsalides, who said he was proud that a small country like Cyprus has the opportunity to help a big country like China. He said that the aim of the signing of the agreement is the creation of all necessary infrastructures that will help this big Chinese region to solve this problem.

    On his part, speaking through an interpreter, the Chinese governor expressed satisfaction for the signing of the memorandum, noted that Cyprus has achieved much, and has an important experience in the field of thalasssemia prevention. He also praised TIFs work and noted that the agreement that has been concluded is very important and a proof of the important experience provided by Cyprus.

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