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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 10-06-01

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has recommended the renewal of UNFICYPs mandate (UN peace-keeping force in Cyprus) for another six months, until December 15 this year, saying it plays an essential role on the island of Cyprus, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

    Bans report on the UN operation in Cyprus will be issued as a document of the Security Council.

    In part six of the report (Observations ), Ban noted that during the reporting period, the situation in the buffer zone has remained calm.

    Restrictions on the movement of locally employed United Nations civilian personnel regrettably continue. The freedom of movement for all United Nations personnel is a matter of principle to the Organization and an operational requirement for UNFICYP and I call on the Turkish Cypriot authorities to respect this principle, he says.

    Both communities have continued to rely on UNFICYPs assistance in areas ranging from humanitarian and economic matters to a variety of bicommunal issues affecting the lives of Cypriots, he adds, noting that UNFICYP worked closely with both communities on solving practical day-to-day issues, particularly in the buffer zone.

    UNDP, assisted by UNFICYP, is leading efforts to realize the leaders agreement to open a seventh crossing in the area of Limnitis/Yesilirmak. Its swift opening, without further delays, would improve the daily lives of all Cypriots by enhancing the freedom of movement throughout the island and would serve to build trust and confidence between the sides. In the same vein, I also hope that the stabilization and restoration of buildings at the Ledra Street/Lokmaci crossing will advance in a timely manner, he points out.

    Ban notes that further progress has been achieved on the clearing of minefields in the buffer zone. I note with satisfaction the commitment of the Turkish Forces to release a further 13 minefields for clearance, four of which are located north of the buffer zone, which is a welcome widening of the scope of mine clearance beyond the original demining agreement.

    He urged both opposing forces to cooperate with the United Nations to realize the goal of a mine freebuffer zone for all Cypriots by April 2011.

    I am pleased to report that the humanitarian work of the Committee on Missing Persons continues unhindered. I urge all parties concerned to take every possible action to support this work, including by preventing the important work of the Committee from being politicized. I am encouraged by the recent widening of the geographical scope of exhumation to military areas, and strongly hope that this trend will continue in the coming period, the SG says.

    The SG believes that the establishment of economic, social, cultural, sporting or similar ties and contacts will have a positive impact on the on-going negotiations. Such contacts would nurture a sentiment of trust between the communities and help ease the sense of isolation felt by the Turkish Cypriots. Further, greater economic and social parity between the sides will make the eventual reunification not only easier, but also more likely. In the context of an internationally sanctioned peace process, efforts in the opposite direction can only be counterproductive, the report adds.

    UNFICYP, Ban stresses, continues to play an essential role on the island, including in support of my good offices mission. I recommend, therefore, that the Security Council extend the mandate of UNFICYP for six months, until 15 December 2010.

    At the same time, mindful of the Security Councils previous calls and my stated intention to keep all peacekeeping operations under review, I shall continually keep the operations of UNFICYP under close review, taking into account developments on the ground and the views of the parties, and shall revert to the Council with recommendations, as appropriate, for further adjustments to the UNFICYP mandate, force levels and concept of operations as soon as warranted, the report concludes.

    UNFICYP is made up of 859 military personnel and 68 UN police officers. It arrived in Cyprus in March 1964 after intercommunal fighting broke out between the islands two communities.


    President Demetris Christofias has said that the forthcoming visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Cyprus is a turning point in relations between the peoples of Cyprus and Italy. The visit, the President pointed out, will enhance the already close relations with the Holy See.

    Inaugurating the exhibition Cyprus and Italy in the Age of Byzantium, President Christofias referred to the long-standing contacts between Cyprus and Italy, which began in the 11th century BC and continued during ancient times, influencing Italian and Cypriot art as well as the culture of the two countries in various aspects of everyday life.

    He underlined that the excellent relations between the two peoples continue to date in the framework of a united Europe, since the two countries share many common attributes, historical, geographical and cultural. There is also close cooperation in political, financial and cultural issues, he added.

    Pope Benedict XVI will pay an official visit to Cyprus 4-6 June.


    The 43rd conference of the committees of the national parliaments of the European Union member states dealing with European affairs (COSAC) has condemned the Israeli offensive against vessels which were carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza. The meeting has also called on the EU Council to ask for an independent international inquiry into the attack, under UN aegis.

    The reference to the events in Gaza has been included at the initiative of Cyprus, Denmark, Greece, Ireland and Sweden in the Contribution adopted along with the Conclusions by the COSAC Conference, which wrapped up in Madrid on Tuesday. The Cypriot House was represented at the Conference by the Chairman of the European Affairs Committee Nicos Kleanthous and its members Demetris Syllouris, Aristos Aristotelous, Tasos Mitsopoulos and Fidias Sarikas.

    The conference also supported the EU appeal for the immediate lifting of restrictions to allow humanitarian aid and goods into Gaza and enable individuals to visit the region. The conclusions and the Contribution will be sent to the EU institutions.

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