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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-07-26

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    French President Nicolas Sarkozy is expected to express solidarity to Cyprus over the recent blast at a naval base which killed 13 persons and injured dozens, when he receives President of the Republic Demetris Christofias later today at the Elysee Palace.

    According to the French Presidency website, Sarkozy will receive President Christofias at 17:00 local time (15.00 GMT).

    Discussions will focus on bilateral cooperation and the main European and international issues.

    It is further noted that this meeting will present the French President with the opportunity to express Frances solidarity to Cyprus over the destruction at the naval base Evagelos Florakis.

    President Christofias left this morning for Paris. He did not make any statement on departure.

    Thirteen people were killed - six firemen, five National Guard members and two sailors - by the huge blast which rocked nearby communities and caused extensive damage. Mari village suffered most of the damage.

    The massive explosion occurred a few minutes before 0600 local time (0300 GMT), when containers, full of munitions, which Cyprus had confiscated from Monchegorsk, a vessel sailing from Iran to Syria in 2009, complying with UN sanctions against Teheran.

    Following the blast, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence and the Chief of the National Guard have stepped down.

    The explosion caused huge damage to the island`s main electricity power plant at Vasiliko, which resulted in regular power cuts.


    British MPs have urged British Prime Minister David Cameron ``to demand unequivocally`` that Turkey works sincerely for the reunification of Cyprus and that it fulfils its obligations to the EU in relation to Cyprus.

    In a letter to the Prime Minister, British MPs note ``the clear and irrefutable responsibilities that the British government holds with regard to Cyprus`` and urge the British PM to use Britains diplomatic leverage with the USA and through the UN, the EU and NATO to press Turkey ``to end its unacceptable military occupation of Cyprus and the islands unlawful and unjust division``.

    ``To that end, and as a first step in that direction, we, the undersigned, call upon you to extend an urgent invitation to Cyprus President Demetris Christofias to meet with you, in an official capacity, so that he can inform you on the latest political developments regarding Cyprus and so that you can explore with him ways in which the United Kingdom can actively contribute to efforts to bring to an end this continuing injustice``, they add.

    In their letter, they point out that nearly four decades after the illegal invasion of Cyprus, Turkish troops continue to occupy approximately 38% of the islands territory.

    For 37 years, the world has condemned the occupation and Turkeys intransigence in efforts to find a solution to reunite Cyprus, they note, adding that during the same period, British troops have been engaged in conflicts around the world, fighting injustice, protecting British sovereignty and safeguarding or seeking to deliver democracy.


    Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Antonis Paschalides on Monday announced that new photovoltaic and wind parks will operate by the end of the year in order to boost Cyprus electricity supply, after the destruction of the countrys biggest power plant at Vasiliko, following the blast at the naval base Evangelos Florakis near Limassol.

    The blast occurred when a cache of seized Iranian munitions blew up. About 100 containers most packed with gunpowder had been stacked in an open field at the base since 2009. They had been seized from a ship sailing from Iran to Syria, in violation of UN sanctions against Teheran. Thirteen people were killed and dozens injured. The damage at Vasiliko power plant has resulted in daily power cuts.

    Speaking to the press after a meeting with the Ministers of Interior, Finance and Agriculture, at the presence of senior officials from the Electricity Authority, the Transmission Operator and Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority, Paschalides said that we are trying to simplify the procedures and give incentives because we need electricity as soon as possible.

    According to Commerce Minister, next week there will be more detailed announcements regarding the precise electricity supply these parks will provide us with as well as the exact cost.

    He added that during the meeting, a decision was made as to to sponsor small photovoltaic systems up to 20 KW for domestic and commerce purposes, noting that all applications will be examined by the end of 2011.

    Government will also subsidy photovoltaic panels between 21 and 150 KW Paschalides said, noting however that there will be an auction procedure to be followed.


    Emergency support measures for four cultural heritage sites will take place, the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage, comprising experts from the islands two communities, has announced.

    According to a press release, the measures concern the Mosque in the village of Denia, the Church of Profitis Elias in the Turkish occupied village of Philia, the Melandrina Church in the occupied village of Ayios Avrosios and the Mosque of Evredu.

    The emergency support measures for these four sites will start in late summer.

    Additional cultural heritage sites will benefit from similar interventions in the months to come, the press release said.

    All the activities are funded by the European Union and implemented by UNDP-Partnership for the Future.

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