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

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The head of the Roman Catholic Church Pope Benedict XVI has referred to Cyprus sad division which he has seen during his three-day official visit to the island, noting that he has also learned about the destruction of the islands cultural heritage.

    In his farewell address at Larnaka Airport, he said he has also listened to Cypriots from the northern part of the country who wish to return in peace to their homes and places of worship and was deeply moved by their pleas.

    The Pope believes that Cyprus can play a particular role in promoting dialogue and cooperation.

    Describing his visit as a brief but fruitful Apostolic Journey, the Pope thanked the President and expressed gratitude for all that he and his government and the civil and military authorities have done to make his visit such a memorable and successful one.

    The Mediterranean, he said, is a rich mosaic of peoples with their distinctive cultures and their beauty, their warmth and their humanity. In spite of that reality, the Eastern Mediterranean is at the same time no stranger to conflict and bloodshed, as we have tragically witnessed in recent days. Let us all redouble our efforts to build a real and lasting peace for all the peoples of the region, he noted.

    Together with that general objective, Cyprus can play a particular role in promoting dialogue and cooperation, the Pope said.

    Striving patiently for the peace of your own hearths and for the prosperity of your neighbours, you will then be well placed to hear and understand all sides of many complex issues, and to help peoples to come to a greater understanding of one another. The path that you are taking, Mr President, is one which the international community looks to with great interest and hope, and I note with satisfaction all the efforts that have been made to favour peace for your people and for the whole island of Cyprus, the Pope stressed.

    Recalling all his encounters with religious leaders on the island, the Pope expressed hope that his visit here will be seen as another step along the path that was opened up before us by the embrace in Jerusalem of the late Patriarch Athenagoras and my venerable predecessor Pope Paul the Sixth.

    Let me also express again my sincere hope and prayer that, together, Christians and Muslims will become a leaven for peace and reconciliation among Cypriots and serve as an example to other countries, he added.

    The Pope encouraged the President and his Government in their high responsibilities, including the most important tasks of assuring the peace and security of all Cypriots.

    Having stayed these past nights in the Apostolic Nunciature, which happens to be in the United Nations buffer zone, I have seen for myself something of the sad division of the island, as well as learning of the loss of a significant part of a cultural heritage which belongs to all humanity. I have also listened to Cypriots from the north who wish to return in peace to their homes and places of worship, and I have been deeply moved by their pleas, he said.

    Truth and reconciliation, together with respect, are the soundest foundation for the united and peaceful future of this island, and for the stability and prosperity of all her people, the Pope said, adding that much good has been achieved in this regard through substantive dialogue in recent years, though much remains to be done to overcome divisions.

    Let me encourage you and your fellow citizens to work patiently and steadfastly with your neighbours to build a better and more certain future for all your children. As you do so, be assured of my prayers for the peace of all Cyprus, he concluded.

    Addressing the President in Greek, he extended his blessing for peace.

    The Pope left for the Vatican onboard a Cyprus Airways aircraft.


    The President of the Republic Demetris Christofias has described the Popes visit to Cyprus an historic event of unparalleled significance, which attaches particular prestige to the celebrations marking the 50th anniversary since the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus. The President thanked Pope Benedict XVI profusely for his firm support to the cause of the people of Cyprus to achieve a just, viable and functional solution, which will reunite the country, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

    President Christofias extended special thanks to the Pope for his concern regarding the continuous destruction of the islands cultural and religious heritage in the areas occupied by the Turkish army. In his farewell address, at Larnaka International Airport, at the end of the Pope`s three day official visit here, the President noted that Cyprus and the Vatican share the same vision for a more peaceful, more free, and more just world.

    You chose to devote to Cyprus and our people three unforgettable days. We have become accustomed to Your serene presence, to Your powerful and clear words. We are truly sorry that Your visit is coming to an end. We hope, however, that You will always bear Cyprus, its wounds and its hopes, in Your heart, the President said. For the Cypriots, he pointed out, this journey constitutes an historic event of unparalleled significance which also attaches particular prestige to the celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus.

    In You, all Cypriots have seen the messenger of peace and a fervent supporter of equality. Your Journey, Bishop of the Ancient Church of Rome, has been a spiritual experience for Catholic Cypriots, as well as for foreign Catholics employed here, who have had the opportunity to greet their shepherd in person and with great devoutness he added.


    Pope Benedict XVI has made a personal appeal for an urgent and concerted international effort to resolve the ongoing tensions in the Middle East, before such conflicts lead to greater bloodshed.

    He made the reference after the Holy Mass at a crow-packed Eleftheria Stadium in Nicosia, in the presence of Patriarchs and Bishops from the Middle East, as well as representatives of their respective communities, Cyprus President Demetris Christofias, Archbishop Chrysostomos II and the islands religious and political leadership.

    The service included prayers in Greek from the Bible. The Pope blessed the congregation and prayed for peace and then proceeded with the Consignment of the Instrumentum Laboris of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops.

    In his speech during the Consignment of the Instrumentum Laboris, Pope Benedict thanked all for the work that has been accomplished already in anticipation of the Synodal Assembly, and I promise you the support of my prayers as you enter this final phase of preparation.


    Informal consultations are taking place among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, on a British draft resolution on the renewal of the mandate of the UN peace-keeping force in Cyprus and on the Secretary Generals good offices mission.

    The preamble notes that the Council strongly urges the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus to increase the momentum in the negotiations to ensure the full exploitation of this opportunity to reach a comprehensive settlement based on a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, as set out in the relevant Security Council resolutions and on the basis of the leaders joint statements of 23 May and 1 July 2008.

    The Security Council, it says, emphasizes the importance attached by the international community of all parties engaging fully, flexibly and constructively in the negotiations and echoes the Secretary-Generals view that a solution is well within reach, while it looks forward to decisive progress in the near future, building on the progress made to date.

    It welcomes the hope expressed by the two sides in Cyprus on 21 December 2009 that negotiations would be concluded by the end of 2010.

    The Council also welcomes the intention of the Secretary-General to keep all peacekeeping operations, including those of UNFICYP, under close review and notes the importance of contingency planning in relation to the settlement, including recommendations as appropriate for further adjustments to the UNFICYPs mandate, force levels and concept of operations, taking into account developments on the ground and the views of the parties.

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