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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 98-06-09

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 <>

News Update

Tuesday, 09/06/98


  • [01] EU official expresses satisfaction over screening process
  • [02] Destruction of Cyprus religious heritage continues
  • [03] Jews historic visit to Cyprus

[01] EU official expresses satisfaction over screening process

"We have already done eight out of thirty one chapters and we note with great satisfaction that no real problems have been met", Director General of the European Commission Task Force for the accession negotiations Nicolaus Van der Pas stated last week.

Speaking at a press conference last Saturday (6.6.98) at the conclusion of his three day working visit, Mr. Van der Pas stressed that the Cyprus government is very much determined to make progress in accession negotiations and that it is well prepared for this difficult task.

Referring to the issue of Turkish Cypriot participation, the EU official expressed regret that the Turkish Cypriot community rejected an invitation by President Clerides to participate in the Cyprus negotiating team. He pointed out that the offer by the Cyprus government was a positive one, adding that he hoped the offer which remains on the table will be picked up.

"The Turkish Cypriot community must understand that the EU accession process is very much considered to be of benefit to both communities", he said.

Van der Pas stressed that Cyprus' accession process has already started and will continue as quickly as possible and expressed the hope that the Turkish Cypriots will soon have a change of heart and join the negotiations. This would build confidence that would contribute in a more genuine sense to a peaceful solution, he said.

Outlining the EU position on the offshore sector in relation to Cyprus, Van der Pas explained the EU "is not out to kill the offshore sector in Cyprus" which is thriving, adding that "the starting point is that you have an important part of your economy based to a large extent on differentiation of the fiscal treatment".

[02] Destruction of Cyprus' religious heritage by Turkish troops

The destruction of Cyprus' religious and cultural identity in the Turkish occupied areas was denounced by the Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the UN, Mr Sotos Zackheos. In a letter of protest dated 3 June 1998, addressed to the UN Secretary General, the Cyprus Ambassador refers to further violations against three churches in the occupied areas, namely the church of Panayia Evangelistria in the occupied village of Gerolakkos and the church of Prophitis Zacharias in the occupied village of Pano Dikomon, both of which have been converted into mosques, and the church of Ayios Mamas, also in the occupied village of Gerolakkos, which has been converted into a cultural centre.

Mr Zackheos pointed out that these systematic and illegal conversions are part of a deliberate plan by Turkey to obliterate the island's religious, historical and cultural heritage, and are in violation of the 1954 Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property.

The letter was circulated as a document of the General Assembly and the Security Council.

[03] Jews historic visit to Cyprus

More than 150 Jewish community leaders from countries around the world will be visiting Cyprus this week to thank the people of the island for helping Jews return to their country between 1946 and 1949.

During their visit which coincides with the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel, Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides will be honoured at a gala dinner in appreciation of the help Cyprus offered to Jews when Cyprus was still a British colony.

From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at

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