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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 99-02-08
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Monday, 8 February 1999
 Urgency of resolving the Cyprus problem stressed at European People's Party ConferenceThe urgent need to find a solution to the Cyprus problem and to exert pressure on Turkey to accelerate democratisation and assure respect of international law, were stressed in the final statement adopted by the 13th Conference of the European People's Party, last Saturday.
"The EU should continue the pressure on the Turkish government in order to accelerate democratisation, improve the dialogue and co-operation with, use peaceful means for the settlement of conflicts, assure the protection of minorities, apply human rights and assure the compliance with international law", the statement said in the chapter regarding Europe's responsibility for peace and economic stability in the world.
"The EU also underlines the urgency of resolving the Cyprus problem," but at same time, it is called upon "to fulfil the obligations to Turkey to which it is committed under the Mutual Financial Protocol".
The Conference focused on issues such as "Agenda 2000", the EU's social and economic policy, the environment, the Union's common foreign and security policy and the European People's Party's course in the 21st century.
Speaking to the press last Friday on the work of the conference, the President of the European Commission Mr Jacques Santer, stressed that it is the wish of the European People's Party, that the candidate countries for accession (five countries of Central and Eastern Europe and Cyprus), which have started accession negotiations, become at the beginning of the 21st century the new members of the European Union.
 Cyprus Government expresses deep sorrow over the death of King Hussein of JordanThe President of Cyprus Mr Glafcos Clerides and the Cyprus Government have expressed their deep sorrow over the death of King Hussein of Jordan, in a statement issued today.
"King Hussein has contributed a great deal to the peace process in the Middle East and for this his death is truly a great loss not only for Jordan but for the whole of the Middle East. The vision of King Hussein, who was a personal friend of President Clerides, was to transform the Middle East region from a battlefield to a zone of peace, stability and prosperity for all its peoples. For this reason he quite rightly takes his place among the great men of modern world history," the statement says.
"President Clerides and his Government congratulate the new King Abdullah on the assumption of his high duties and express the hope that he will continue and that he will accomplish the work started by the late King Hussein", it concludes.
President Clerides has departed this morning for Jordan to attend the funeral of King Hussein.
 Rotterdam District Court rules that stolen icons were purchased in good faithThe District Court of Rotterdam presenting its judgement on 4 February on the four icons from the Antiphonitis Church in the occupied area of Cyprus, has accepted that the four icons came from the Turkish occupied church but ruled there was insufficient evidence to prove they had not been purchased in good faith by a Dutch couple.
The court refuted the argument by the Cyprus Church that the icons should be returned on the basis of the Protocol to the Convention regarding the return of cultural property in the event of armed conflict (Hague 1954).
According to the District Court, although the protocol has been sighed and ratified by the Netherlands, it does not have direct force within the country since no law has been passed in Dutch civil law for its enforcement.
Dutch law provides that the Rotterdam Couple should be recognised as the owner unless the Church proves that they acted in bad faith when acquiring the icons. In the court's view there is insufficient evidence that they acted in bad faith.
Although the judgement, as long as it is not overturned in appeal, gives right of ownership to the Dutch couple, it does not dispute the origin of the icons neither does it dispute the original ownership of the Church of Cyprus.
However the judgement illustrates that the burden of proof regarding purchase in bad faith or otherwise resides with the original owner.
The Church of Cyprus has three months to consider an appeal against the Rotterdam District Court decision.
 Cyprus' new Ambassador to China presents credentialsCyprus's new Ambassador to the People's Republic of China Mrs Loria Markides has presented her credentials to President Jiang Zemin, at a formal ceremony on 5 February.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/