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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-09-09

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    President Demetris Christofias called for vigilance and readiness by the National Guard vis-a-vis Turkish arrogance and the threats by Ankara, aiming to intimidate Cyprus in order to abandon exploitation of hydrocarbon reserves in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

    Speaking at Friday the Presidential Palace, during the ceremony of affirmation of the new Deputy Chief of the National Guard, Major General Andreas Petrides, the President said that Petrides assumes his duties during a very difficult time, while the Turkish occupation of a significant part of Cyprus still continues.

    Turkish arrogance and the threats that are being made, in an effort to intimidate the Republic of Cyprus, aiming at dissuading the country from exploiting its EEZ, call for vigilance and readiness, President Christofias said.

    He noted that the armed forces are called to deliver their top mission, which is to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the semi-occupied country, as well as the peoples freedom and dignity.

    Times are difficult, but states and societies are being tested during tough times the President said.

    He added that we have the courage and strength to face together and overcome difficulties and problems and noted that respect towards and dedication to constitutional institutions and the democratic polity constitute a safety net for political stability and social cohesion.

    Moreover, he said that throughout this time of continuous Turkish intransigence and arrogance, the National Guard constitutes a point of unity and cooperation, for the countrys defence and for guaranteeing better days for the people.

    Our common goal is a free, reunited Cyprus, an island of peace, progress and culture for all its citizens, President Christofias noted.

    The new Deputy Chief of the National Guard Andreas Petrides thanked from his part the President for his trust and said he was aware that he is assuming his duties during a difficult time.

    He assured the President that he is going to work responsibly and with selflessness, and that his actions, as prescribed by the legal framework concerning his duties, will aim at upgrading the National Guard as an effective, deterrent force.

    The ceremony of affirmation was attended, among others, by the Minister of Defence Demetris Eliades and the Chief of the National Guard Stylianos Nasis.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third.

    Peace talks are currently underway to find a negotiated settlement that will reunite the country, under a federal roof.

    A US company, Noble Energy received a concession from the government of the Republic of Cyprus to explore for hydrocarbons in Block 12, located in Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone, which borders reserve-rich Leviathan in Israels EEZ.

    Initial drilling is expected to start end of September or early October this year.

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