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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-12-20

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>


CONTENTS

  • [01] Cypriot FM to meet Clinton in Washington
  • [02] Commander of SBA: Bases are here to stay

  • [01] Cypriot FM to meet Clinton in Washington

    Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou Markoullis, in Washington on a three-day working visit, will hold talks Tuesday with her US counterpart Hillary Clinton.

    On Monday, Markoullis held meetings with Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Howard Berman, who is the Ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

    She also had a working lunch with leaders of the Greek American community, whom she briefed on the latest developments in the Cyprus issue. They also exchanged views on promoting the Cyprus issue at decision centres in Washington. Attending were Ambassador of Cyprus in Washington Pavlos Anastasiades, the chair persons of PSEKA and AHEPA, the Cyprus Federation, the Greek American Institute and other officials.

    Markoullis visited the offices of the Greek American Institute and held a meeting with the leadership of the American Jewish lobby while in the evening she attended a dinner with members of Congress and their associates.

    Later on Tuesday, Markoullis will address the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars think tank on «Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean: Strategic location, strategic opportunities.

    On Wednesday, Markoullis will address the European Institute to talk about «Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean: A Cypriot Perspective».

    In the afternoon, she will brief journalists, at the National Press Club, on the latest developments in the Cyprus issue, Cyprus` presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2012, as well as on prospects as regards exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbon reserves in the Republics Exclusive Economic Zone.

    The Cypriot Minister concludes her visit to the US on Wednesday. She returns to Cyprus on Thursday evening.

    Cyprus, which has been divided since the Turkish invasion in 1974, will assume the six monthly rotating presidency of the Council of the EU in July 2012.

    Turkey, whose troops occupy Cyprus northern part since they invaded in 1974, does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus. Following a decision by Nicosia to begin natural gas and oil exploration in its exclusive economic zone, Ankara has deployed warships in the Eastern Mediterranean and has signed an illegal agreement with the Turkish Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus to delineate what it calls continental shelf.

    Drilling has already begun and is being carried out by Houston-based Noble Energy, off Cyprus south-eastern coast.

    The government of Cyprus has protested to the UN and the EU Turkeys moves, saying it has a sovereign right to exploit its natural resources, pointing out that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will benefit from any benefits that may come from oil drilling.

    Cyprus has signed an agreement to delineate the Exclusive Economic Zone with Egypt and Israel with a view to exploit any possible natural gas and oil reserves in its EEZ. A similar agreement has been signed with Lebanon but the Lebanese Parliament has not yet ratified it.

    [02] Commander of SBA: Bases are here to stay

    Britain has no plans, either now or in the future, to abandon its military bases in Cyprus, Commander of the British Forces Cyprus and Sovereign Base Areas (SBA) Administrator Air Vice Marshal G E Stacey has said, adding at the same time that London would renew its offer to relinquish sovereignty over parts of the Bases, as part of an overall political settlement of the question of Cyprus.

    In an interview with CNA, the Commander also said that the people of Cyprus are to benefit from any finds of minerals in the SBA and referred any possible amendment to the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee to the contracting parties.

    He noted the good relations the British Bases (BB) enjoy both with the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus and the local communities, saying the SBA authorities are trying very hard to improve them.

    Asked if Britain has any plans, immediate or future, of abandoning the SBA, the Commander replied in one word no, saying that the SBAs continue to be a crucial part of the UKs military infrastructure and operations.

    On the role of the Bases over the years and given that London no longer has the strategically placed sites abroad it used to have, he said there has been very little change in the role the Bases play and added, although the number of personnel is smaller than in the past, the Bases maintain a very important operational focus.


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