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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 10-07-04

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The people of Cyprus will not reconcile themselves with the current division of their homeland and the continuing Turkish occupation of the islands northern part, Interior Minister Neoklis Sylikiotis has said.

    We do not have the right to accept a damaging political settlement which will bring additional suffering to our country. Our objective is to reach an agreed and mutually acceptable solution in a bizonal bicommunal federation, which will secure the unity of the state, with a single sovereignty, one citizenship and one international personality, the Minister stressed, speaking at the inauguration of a memorial for 14 soldiers killed and 8 missing from an infantry unit during the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

    He said that negotiations, aiming at the reunification of Cyprus, began in September 2008 on an agreed basis with the Turkish Cypriot community, which stipulated that the solution which will emerge from these talks will be the product of an agreement between the two communities of Cyprus, with no arbitration and no artificial timeframes and that the agreement will be put to a referendum for approval by the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots.

    Negotiations must continue on the same basis. President Demetris Christofias shows responsibility, persistency and continuity in the principles he defends. We expect and demand that the Turkish Cypriot leadership and Turkey show the same political will and the same spirit of cooperation in deeds to help find a negotiated settlement, Sylikiotis said.

    The Minister also stressed that time will not bow the will of the people of Cyprus to reunite and free their country of Turkeys continuing occupation.

    The courage and the sacrifice of those killed during the invasion do not allow for complacency, we are not prepared to give away any pieace of our land to the occupation power, he added, pointing out that the future of the country and the generations to come cannot be held hostage to the presence of the Turkish military and the continuous influx of Turkish settlers.

    The Minster paid tribute to the dead and the missing of the infantry unit, saying they all fought a brave but unequal battle against the invading enemy, which was equipped with the state of the art military hardware.

    The unit was forced to retreat, and counted its dead and missing in the days that followed the Turkish attack in Kyrenia, on the northern coast. Their memory must guide our political thinking with wisdom and maturity, persistence and insistence on just and feasible goals, he concluded.

    On July 20, 1974, Turkish troops invaded Cyprus on the pretext of restoring constitutional order and protecting the Turkish Cypriot community, following a military coup against the government of the late President Archbishop Makarios, which was engineered by the military junta, then ruling Greece. More than three decades on, the Turkish military continues to occupy Cyprus northern part, in spite of repeated calls from the UN and other international organizations to withdraw its troops.

    During the summer of 1974, hundreds of Greek Cypriots, many of them non combatants, went missing, last seen in the hands of the Turkish military. Ankara has yet to account for the fate of these people.


    The Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Antonis Paschalides has expressed confidence that, in the next few months, tourist arrivals and revenue from tourism will increase. There are positive signs about tourism from various countries. We simply cannot be complacent, we have to continue the effort which we have begun to attract more tourists, in line with our strategic planning, he said.

    Asked to comment on problems the tourist industry is facing, Paschalides said such difficulties cannot help Cyprus image abroad and added: having said that, I must say that I am optimistic and believe in the responsible behaviour of everybody involved in the tourist industry and expect that at the end of the day the right decisions will be made.

    Replying to another question, the Minister of Tourism said that industrial action should obviously be avoided. Hotel staff have announced a 24 hour warning strike on July 16, following a unanimous decision by their trade unions, taken a General Assembly. The decision was taken following the deadlock the Ministry of Labour had declared in negotiations for the renewal of the collective agreements.


    Cyprus delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), consisting of Skevi Koukouma- Koutra, Christos Stylianides and Stelios Ieronimides, will travel to Norway, to participate in the Annual Session of the Assembly, to be held in Oslo on 6 10 July.

    The Nineteenth Annual Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, with the theme Rule of Law: Combating Transnational Crime and Corruption, is hosted by the Parliament of Norway Stortinget. Nearly 300 parliamentarians from across the OSCE area are expected to participate in the Session.

    According to an official press release, over several days of deliberations, the Assemblys three General Committees will consider resolutions dealing with various dimensions of the Sessions theme, as well as 35 supplementary items covering topics such as climate change, the Middle East peace process, nuclear security, cybercrime and the situation in Kyrgyzstan. The Session will end with the adoption of the Oslo Final Declaration.


    The Cypriot authorities are examining a formal request from the US for access to property items belonging to a suspect, wanted in the US in connection with a spy case.

    The US request to have access to documents or other items, the property of a suspect wanted in the US on spying charges, has been communicated to the Cyprus Police Chief who is in consultation with the Attorney General on the matter, Police spokesman Michalis Katsounotos has said.

    He said the Law Office of the Republic of Cyprus will decide on the US request on the basis of the provisions of the extradition agreement of fugitives fleeing justice and the handling of evidence relating to the case.

    Speaking to the press in Limassol, Katsounotos said that according to available information so far, it is still not clear whether 54-year-old Canadian national Robert Christopher Metsos, accused of espionage in connection with an alleged Russian spy network operating in the United States, has actually left Cyprus.

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