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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 10-12-30

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The government of the Republic of Cyprus must meet its commitments emanating from EU decisions and treaties, President Demetris Christofias stressed here today, pointing out that Cypriots, being victims of foreign occupation, must show solidarity with all those who need assistance.

    The Presidents remarks were made at a gathering to usher in the New Year, organised by AKEL party which he led for years, in the wake of criticism from the opposition, following recent attacks which many have described as racist.

    The Cyprus people, who have suffered as a consequence of the 1974 Turkish invasion and who ask for solidarity in their struggle for the reunification of our country, must at the same time show solidarity with immigrants who live here, he said.

    President Christofias called for an end to racist and xenophobic incidents and asked for greater understanding, reminding everyone that Cypriots themselves had to emigrate after the Turkish invasion to seek a better future in foreign lands.

    We shall never marginalize the Cypriots. This must be made clear and must be understood. However, I should also point out that the Republic of Cyprus has to fulfill and fulfills its obligations emanating from various treaties and decisions the EU has approved, the President said.

    He urged everybody to relinquish any racist tendencies, saying that the government has a clear conscience towards Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, as it has always done.

    ``The confrontation which some are trying to create between Cypriots - employed or unemployed - and foreigners who enter Cyprus as immigrants or political refugees is inhumane and absurd``, President added.

    Cyprus has recently witnessed a number of racist incidents against immigrants.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides have been engaged in direct negotiations since September 2008 to find a mutually agreed settlement that will reunite the country.

    Since it joined the EU, in May 2004, Cyprus has become an attractive destination for many immigrants. In the recent past, their numbers have dwindled as a result of government policy on immigrants and illegal immigration.


    European Parliament Socialist Group President Martin Schultz has condemned, in a written statement, the interruption of Christmas mass, in the Turkish occupied village of Rizokarpaso, by the Turkish occupations forces. I condemn the incidents in the churches and I call on the authorities in northern Cyprus to guarantee the respect of basic human rights and religious freedom, Shultz stated.

    He added that people of all religious persuasions must be allowed to practice their religion all over the island of Cyprus in the spirit of tolerance and mutual respect.

    On Christmas Day, the Turkish military entered the church of Rizokarpaso village, one of a handful of Greek Orthodox churches allowed to operate in the northern Turkish occupied part of Cyprus, and interrupted the Christmas mass.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island`s northern part. The legal government of the Republic of Cyprus is prevented from exercising its jurisdiction in this part of the country by the Turkish military. President of the Republic Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu have been engaged in direct talks aiming at reuniting the island.


    Archbishop Chrysostomos II, reported to the ambassadors of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and a UN representative, the interruption of the Christmas liturgies in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus by Turkish troops, stressing that the Greek Cypriot side will not tolerate a similar situation.

    The primate of the Greek Orthodox Church on the island also handed letters to the diplomats, explaining what had happened on December 25. As he stressed, the Christmas liturgy in the Turkish occupied villages of Rizokarpaso and Ayia Triada were interrupted by the Turkish troops, which also harassed the priest and the congregation, despite the permission that had been obtained in advance for the liturgy.

    In statements after the meeting, the Archbishop said ``we invited the representatives of the permanent members of the SC to report the monstrosity that took place on Christmas Day by Turks``.

    ``I made it clear to them that we will not tolerate such incident`` again, he added.

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