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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 97-10-21

Cyprus Press and Information Office: News Updates in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

News Update

Tuesday, 21/10/97


CONTENTS

  • [01] President Clerides left for Britain to attend the Commonwealth Summit
  • [02] Press Conference on the latest recovery of stoler art treasures
  • [03] US statement on Turkish air violations
  • [04] Investment Conference for Southern Russia opened in Nicosia
  • [05] Cyprus attends UNESCO General Conference


[01] President Clerides left for Britain to attend the Commonwealth Summit

President of the Republic Glafcos Clerides flew to London on Monday afternoon (20.10.97) to attend the Commonwealth Heads of State Summit in Edinburgh on October 24-27.

Replying to insistent questions from the press at Larnaca airport that he had earlier promised to announce in October his decision on seeking another presidential term in next February's elections, the President said that right now his concern is with the Commonwealth's stand on the Cyprus question, but there is a possibility he will announce his decision by the 5th, 6th or 7th of November.

[02] Press Conference on the latest recovery of stolen art treasures

The Cypriot Consul in the Netherlands Mrs Maria Hadjitofi gave a press conference on Monday, 20.10.97, during which she gave more details about the recent discovery (on 10.10.97 see relevant article on this site), of stolen orthodox church paintings, frescoes and mosaics in the house of a Turkish shady art dealer in Munich. The pieces belonged to the 12th century church of Antifonitis and were looted along with thousands of other art treasures following the Turkish invasion and occupation of the northern third of Cyprus.

The Cypriot Consul gane a general picture of the extent of the continuing pillage and looting of artefacts from the occupied areas. She said:

"Many, if not all, of the artefacts belonging to 500 churches, monasteries, castles and museums of the area found their way illegally to various parts of the world. Overall, the magnitude of the destruction can only be estimated (since access to undertake a detailed inventory is not permitted) but realistic estimates are:

- some 15.000 - 20.000 icons have been removed; - several dozen major frescoes and mosaics dating from the 6th century AD to the 15th century have been segmented for sale abroad and some destroyed forever; - several thousand antiquities and individual objects of historical and cultural interest ranging from chalices, crosses, wooden carvings, bibles etc have disappeared.

Apart from the individuals involved in the removal, art dealers from several countries provided a vehicle for the trade in our antiquities and religious objects for which they have received large surns of money from wealthy individuals in the last 23 years".

Finally Mrs Hadjitofi thanked all those who co-operated in the latest discovery of these very important cultural art treasures, including the Dutch and German authorities and the Archbishop of Cyprus who providing funds and encouragement.

[03] US statement on Turkish air violations

The US State Department in a statement on 20.10.97 about the recent buzzing and harassment of the Greek Defence Minister's aircraft by Turkish military fighter planes during the Minister's flight to and from Cyprus, said:

"We have no independent confirmation of the reported incidents. The accounts we have seen are disturbing.

If Turkish aircraft flew provocatively close to the Greek defence minister's aircraft, such action would not be consistent with Turkey's stated desire to reduce tension with Greece.

As we have said before, we have long urged all parties to the Cyprus problem to avoid steps that complicate or detract from efforts to promote dialogue and negotiations. We would hope that all sides would appreciate the benefits of reinstitution of a complete and open-ended moratorium on military overflights of Cyprus at the earliest possible time.

[04] Investment Conference for Southern Russia opened in Nicosia

A 7-day Investment Conference for Southern Russia opened in Nicosia on 19.10.97, attended by 36 municipalities through their mayors or representatives and numerous businessmen and investors.

Speaking at the opening of the Conference, Cyprus Minister of Finance Christodoulos Christodoulou praised the organisers, the Development Bank of Cyprus, saying the Conference offered an excellent opportunity to examine ways of further developing the business infrastructure to the benefit of increased investments in Southern Russia.

Russia's Ambassador to Nicosia Georgi Mouratov said: "In the past few years Cyprus has become of great importance to our country, as it is a channel through which foreign investments are brought in, due to its unique geographical position and highly developed services network", he said.

The Russian ambassador described Cyprus as an important regional economic centre. According to existing data, 1 to 1,5 billion dollars are invested into Russia through Cyprus, Mr Mouratov said.

[05] Cyprus attends UNESCO General Conference

A delegation from Cyprus headed by the Director General of the Ministry of Education and Culture Mr Andreas Phylactou is attending UNESCO's General Conference in Paris which begins Tuesday, 21.10.97.

Cyprus Permanent and Acting Delegates at UNESCO, Constantinos Leventis and Christos Kasimatis, as well as officials of the University of Cyprus and the Antiquities Department are also participating.

The Representatives from the 186 UNESCO member-states will adopt the budget and action plan for 1998-1999.

On Monday (20.10.97) Mr Phylactou and Mr Leventis had a meeting with the Director General of UNESCO Mr Federico Mayor. The Cypriot officials raised the issue of the continuing destruction and looting of Cypriot cultural heritage in the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus and pointed to the most recent event of the discovery in Germany of stolen church paintings in the house of a Turkish art dealer.


From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/


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