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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 10-09-29

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The US House of Representatives adopted a resolution Tuesday calling for the protection of religious sites which are situated in the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus.

    The resolution was introduced by U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), co-chairs of the Congressional Hellenic Caucus.

    According to Bilirakis, member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the International Religious Freedom Caucus, around 500 churches, monasteries, cemeteries and other religious sites in the Republic of Cyprus have been desecrated, pillaged, looted and destroyed since Turkey invaded the northern region on July 20th 1974.

    Bilirakis noted the "continued violations that are taking place in Cyprus even as it celebrates the 50th anniversary of its independence, which is certainly a milestone, but is also a reminder that roughly one-third of Cyprus has been under Turkish military occupation for more than 35 years".

    The resolution also urges the Turkish government to protect the cultural and religious heritage of the Greek Cypriots living in the northern-occupied areas of the country, who have been prohibited from worshiping freely due to the restricted access to religious sites and continued destruction of the property of the Church of Cyprus.

    Were calling on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom to investigate and make recommendations on violations of these religious freedoms, Bilirakis said.

    Additionally, I continue to call on Turkey to remove its troops from Cyprus, remove its settlers, and come to the negotiating table in good faith to find a solution that is just for the Cypriot people.

    The resolution also demands that Turkey be held responsible for the continued violations of humanitarian law with respect to the destruction of religious and cultural property in Cyprus. Turkeys actions in the occupied areas of Cyprus violate its obligations under several conventions to which it is a signatory.

    Equal support from my Republican and Democratic colleagues illustrates that Congress can work together in a bipartisan manner when it comes to condemning violations of religious freedom throughout the world, Bilirakis said.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey occupied its northern third.


    The exhibition Cyprus: Crossroads of Civilizations, inaugurated Tuesday at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. marks 50 years of diplomatic relations, friendship and co-operation between Cyprus and the USA, Cyprus President Demetris Christofias has said at the opening ceremony.

    The decision to celebrate this important milestone in the history of the Republic of Cyprus with an exhibition of such scope and importance in the United States, testifies the close bonds of friendship between our two countries and people, he said, adding that it also highlights the long history of fruitful co-operation in the field of archaeology between the two countries.

    President Christofias noted that the exhibition celebrates the 50th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Cyprus and showcases its 11.000 year history.

    Referring to the antiquities on display he said that they are merely a fraction of the artifacts discovered on the island by Cypriot and foreign excavators, including many American archaeologists, adding that the display is enriched with masterpieces of ecclesiastical art, maps and coins presented to the American public for the first time.

    President Christofias briefly described Cyprus development in the world saying it became an independent state in 1960, soon after, a UN member, whilst also gaining membership in many regional and international organizations, culminating with its accession to the European Union in May 2004.


    Cypriot athletes secured 15 medals in total, three silver and 12 bronze at the 14th Karate Balkan Championships, which took place in Loutraki, Greece between 24th and 26th September.

    According to an announcement of the Cyprus Karate Federation, the Cyprus mission numbered 100 people, among them 61 athletes and 10 coaches making it the largest mission ever to participate in an international event.

    The games were organized simultaneously in four different areas of the stadium for men and women as well as for the first time for youths and girls between the ages of 11 and 14 years old. 536 athletes from 9 countries participated at the championships and a total of 711 entries for the events of kumite (sparring) and kata (technique demonstration) were recorded.

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