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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 99-02-23
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Tuesday, 23 February 1999
 Cyprus government says Ocalan must have a fair trialGovernment Spokesman Christos Stylianides today made the following statement on the arrest of Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan:
"The Cyprus government is fully aligned with the EU Foreign Ministers' joint statement yesterday which supports that the Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan must have an open and fair trial before an independent court with access to legal counsel of his choice and with international observers admitted to the trial.
Of particular importance is the European Union's strict opposition to the death penalty and the expectation that Turkey will resolve its problems by political means with full respect for human rights, the rule of law in a democratic society and in full accordance with Turkey's commitments as a member of the Council of Europe.
The Cyprus government, moreover, deplores Turkey's attempt to make propaganda capital out of the issue, expresses its abhorrence at the manner in which the captive Kurdish leader was paraded in front of the Turkish television cameras and stresses the need to ensure that Abdullah Ocalan is treated humanely".
 Attorney-General says Ocalan passport was definitely forgedCyprus' Attorney General, Alecos Markides, said on Friday that the Cypriot passport found on captured Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan was definitely a forged document.
Speaking at a news conference in Nicosia, Mr Markides said that "On July 10, 1995, the Cyprus authorities legally issued a passport to Lazaros Mavros with the number C015918. There is no doubt that that passport was issued legally with the picture of Mr Mavros."
He went on to say that while the passport number is the same as that on the 'Ocalan passport', but that Ocalan's picture had been pasted where that of the holder, Mavros, should have been.
Despite an exhaustive investigation by police, Markides said there was no admissible evidence to suggest that an offence had been committed by anyone in Cyprus.
However, he said he was still "in the dark" about what had really happened, because Mavros has failed to answer police questions.
"In the course of the investigation, police questioned Mr Mavros, but he refused to answer any questions, which is his right," Markides told a news conference yesterday.
He added: "an extensive search by investigators did not lead to the discovery of the passport."
Although Mavros failed to produce his passport, Markides said this was not an offence under the law.
"Failing to produce your ID is illegal, but not your passport", he said.
Lazaros Mavros is a popular television and radio presenter and is vice- president of the Cyprus-Kurdistan Solidarity Committee.
 Demilitarisation of Cyprus would be a "win-win situation" for all sidesPresident Clerides' proposal for the demilitarisation of Cyprus is a "win- win situation" for all sides concerned, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has said.
In a speech on prospects for a settlement of the Cyprus problem at the Council of Foreign Relation in Washington on 19 February 99, he said that demilitarisation "best serves the security interests of all Cypriots as well as those of Greece and Turkey, and could contribute substantially to peace and stability in the volatile eastern Mediterranean region".
Regrettably, he said, this proposal has fallen on deaf ears in Ankara, which does not have the political will to work towards a solution to the Cyprus problem.
 Cyprus' control of drugs is effective, says reportThe International Narcotics Control Board has said that Cyprus' control system for narcotics is working effectively.
In its report for 1998, the Board says it undertook a mission to Cyprus in September, and noted that comprehensive drug control legislation in line with the international drug control treaties was in place.
However, the Board would appreciate increased vigilance by the Cyprus government with regard to transactions involving the import of drugs for re- export, in order to ensure that those substances for re-export are not diverted into illicit channels in third countries.
The Board recommends that the Cyprus government continue its efforts to study the extent and patterns and trends of drug abuse in order to enable it to design and implement a sound strategy aimed at reducing the demand for illicit drugs and achieve its objectives.
Moreover it praises the government's efforts against money-laundering, which it says have increased its capability to take action against illicit financial activity in the country. However, it adds, more efforts need to be made with regard to the vetting of offshore banks and corporations seeking to be registered in Cyprus, with the Central Bank in particular needing to carry out its own inquiries.
The International Narcotics Control Board is an independent organisation responsible for monitoring the implementation of international Conventions for the control of narcotics.
 UNFICYP costs 47,8 million dollars, but Cyprus has paid up all its feesCyprus has fully met its financial obligations to the United Nations, by paying the fee of 349.151 US dollars to the Ordinary Budget of the international organisation.
UN Secretary-General Spokesman, Fred Echkard, said that Cyprus was the 40th state to settle its membership fee.
Meanwhile, in its report to Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, the UN General Assembly stated that the UN spent over 47,8 million dollars financing its peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) during the period July 1997 - June 1998.
It said that this expenditure was 178.500 US dollars lower than budgeted, due to a reduction in the number of UNFICYP soldiers stationed on the island and a freeze on staff recruitment as part of a downsizing effort.
During the above mentioned period, the UN had 1.225 soldiers, 35 civilian police, 42 international staff and 287 local staff on the island.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/