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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-07-21

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The EU will do its utmost to help Cyprus through the difficult period it is facing, following a blast at the naval base Evangelos Florakis, near Limassol, and the subsequent destruction of the nearby power plant, at Vassiliko, EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn said on Thursday.

    You can be assured that Europe will assist and will help you, wherever it is possible Hahn said, while on a two-day visit in Cyprus.

    Thirteen people were killed and dozens injured on July 11, when about 100 containers, most packed with gunpowder, exploded. The containers were seized in early 2009 from a ship sailing from Iran to Syria, in compliance with UN sanctions against Teheran. The blast caused extensive damages to Vassiliko power plant, leading to power shortages all over Cyprus. Communities in close proximity where also hit.

    Hahn toured on Thursday the damaged Vassiliko power station, along with Ministers of Interior and Commerce, the Head of the European Commission in Cyprus, MEPs and the President and members of the board of the Electricity Authority of Cyprus.

    Hahn, speaking during a press conference, said he had seen many disasters in his career, but nothing like the one at Vassiliko.

    The EU will help Cyprus to recover, Hahn said, adding that an extensive report will be submitted to the European Commission concerning the destruction at the station.

    Minister of Commerce Antonis Paschalides said the blast was a tragic incident and expressed Cyprus gratitude to the EU for the immediate response. We are grateful to Europe, to the Commission, to you Commissioner for your immediate response, support and understanding, Paschalides noted.

    He further said that, both the government as well as the competent Ministries will offer any assistance needed in order to compose the report.

    As far as the Cyprus government and the Cyprus Electricity Authority are concerned, we are here to provide any assistance, in order to be able to assess and evaluate the situation in a quick and accurate way, the Minister noted.

    He said that EAC had suffered a severe blow and asked the EU for its understanding on the issue.

    Hahn expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and wished for the swift recovery of those injured.

    He added that, in a display of solidarity among member states, Cyprus received help from other EU countries, like Greece, following the incident.

    I would like to use this opportunity to say how grateful I am that the Greek government has immediately offered technical assistance, Hahn said.

    Within the EU, we are a big family and if somebody has problems and difficulties we have to stay together, work and try to overcome the difficulties as quick as possible he added.

    The kind of help the EU might provide through the Solidarity Fund is an issue to be examined, the EU Commissioner said, adding that there is community funding available, dedicated to development of infrastructure.

    There are certain possibilities on how to channel European financial support, Hahn noted, adding that this will be part of the discussion he will have during his contacts in Cyprus.

    Hahn said moreover, that it is necessary to have an assessment of the whole damage and cost, not just at the power station, but all over the country.

    This is one thing we have to do, together with the Cypriot authorities and that is already underway, that`s why the experts are here, he said.

    He thanked Paschalides for the readiness to support experts who are on site. It is extremely important to have a quick assessment of the damage, how to proceed, how to organize the future help, and what you can contribute he said.

    Hahn said that he will await the insurance companys report, adding that it is too early to estimate the cost and how long it will take to reconstruct the site.

    He noted that the government of Cyprus has ten weeks from the accident to apply for funding and added that for the moment is too early to have a full picture of the damage, and in particular of the cost.


    An ad hoc committee is to be set up by the House of Representatives to monitor investigations regarding last weeks deadly blast at the Naval Base ``Evaggelos Florakis``, which resulted in the death of 13 people.

    Leaders and representatives of the parliamentary parties, who met Thursday at the House of Representatives, adopted a proposal submitted by European Party (EVROKO) leader, Demetris Syllouris, to set up an ad hoc committee to monitor investigation procedures, to be carried out by the one member commission of inquiry into the circumstances that led to the deadly blast.

    The meeting, which was held under House President Yiannakis Omirou, was also attended by Attorney General Petros Klerides.

    In statements after the meeting, Omirou said that the composition of the committee will be announced at a later stage.


    Greece will continue to fully support the Republic of Cyprus and the ongoing efforts by President Demetris Christofias to terminate the Turkish occupation, in the framework of a just, viable and functional settlement of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has said.

    He pointed out that the federal solution must provide for one state with a single sovereignty, single citizenship and one international personality and must see the acquis communitaire implemented throughout the territory of Cyprus to the benefit of all its legal citizens, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.

    In a statement to mark the 37th anniversary since the Turkish invasion and continuing occupation of Cyprus northern part, Papandreou expressed faith that legal justice will soon be restored in Cyprus.

    He recalled that the UN Secretary General urged on July 7 in Geneva President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu to intensify their efforts to reach a comprehensive agreement and prepare the public opinion for mutual compromises, and pointed out that, contrary to this call, the Turkish Prime Minister discouraged the Turkish Cypriots through the statements he made on July 19.


    President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias will participate in the extraordinary Council of the heads of state and government of the eurozone member states.

    The 17 leaders of the eurozone countries will be discussing the Greek debt crisis.

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