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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 00-03-30
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Thursday, 30 March 2000
 President Clerides: «We press ahead with one purpose in mind: reunite our country and restore fundamental freedoms to all the citizens»The President of the Republic Mr. Glafcos Clerides said yesterday that Cyprus derives strength from the progress of the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.
Speaking at a banquet given yesterday in his honour by the President of the State of Israel Mr. Ezer Weizman, President Clerides said that his visit to Israel is the «indisputable proof of the remarkable growth and strengthening of our bilateral relations and of our determination in bringing our two countries closer than ever before».
Referring to the Cyprus problem, President Clerides said that «the many painful compromises on our part and our willingness for a just, viable and lasting solution and the countless initiatives on the international community have failed to break the deadlock, for they ran afoul of the main stumbling block: Turkey's obdurate refusal to negotiate.
«However great our disappointment is, we derive strength from the progress of the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, we press ahead, undaunted by the many obstacles, regardless of overwhelming and seemingly impossible odds, with one purpose in mind, which is to reunite our country and restore fundamental freedoms and basic human rights to all the citizens», he said.
On his part, President Weizman said it was not a coincidence that President Clerides is the first President of Cyprus to pay a state visit to Israel, adding that «the excellent relations between us were strengthened under your presidency and our closeness brought about good neighborliness and a long list of visits which prove the extent of the cooperation between us».
President Weizman also referred to the close historic relations between the two countries. «The people of Cyprus helped us greatly in our fight for independence and the aid which we received then is still appreciated today, » he said.
In his speech, President Weizman stressed, «Israel supports the inclusion of Cyprus in the European Union and hopes that its efforts in this direction will be successful. Our joining will mean that Israel is only a forty minutes flight away from Europe,» he added.
 «I am convinced that the blessing of peace will shine out from here over the entire region», says Speaker of Israeli ParliamentThe Speaker of Israel's Knesset (parliament) Mr Avraham Burg, expressed yesterday certainty that peace in the Middle East would cover the whole region, noting that Greek Cypriots and Israelis share common roots, as they come from the same region of the world, the Eastern Mediterranean.
Welcoming Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides, who is on a state visit to Israel, Mr Burg expressed certainty that his country will be able to achieve peace in the region, and that «the blessing of peace will shine out from here over the entire region».
After the welcoming ceremony, the Cypriot delegation headed by President Clerides held a meeting with Mr. Burg and attended the Parliament's Plenary Session.
Later in the day President Clerides met with Israeli Prime Minister and Defence Minister Mr Ehud Barak with whom he discussed bilateral relations and international issues.
He also met with Jerusalem Mayor Mr. Ehud Olmert and Acting Chief of the Opposition Mr. Moshe Kotsav. Earlier in the day he visited the «Yad Vashem» Martyrs´and Heroes´ Memorial of the Holocaust where he laid a wreath.
 Cyprus and Israel sign agreementsThe Foreign Ministers of Cyprus and Israel, Messrs Ioannis Kasoulides and David Levy, signed three agreements yesterday.
The first agreement concerns mutual assistance between the custom administrations of the two countries, the second is a protocol on consultation between the two Foreign Ministries, and the third is a programme of cooperation in the field of culture, education and science for the period 2000-2002.
After signing the agreements, the two Ministers began a working session, attended by other Foreign Ministry officers, the Ambassador of Cyprus to Israel Evripides Evriviades, and Israeli Ambassador to Cyprus Shemi Tzur.
 Cyprus and the Czech Republic agree on a Cyprus settlement based on UN resolutionsBilateral relations, the Cyprus problem and the island's EU course were the topics discussed between Cyprus Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Mr Nicos Rolandis and the Czech Republic´s Acting Prime Minister Mr. J. Kavan.
During their meeting yesterday Messrs Rolandis and Kavan agreed that bilateral economic and financial relations should be based on UN resolutions, that Turkeys demand for a confederation is not acceptable and that Cyprus´political problem is not an obstacle to its accession to the EU.
Mr Kavan also underlined his country's wish to maintain its excellent political relations with Cyprus. Within this context, Mr. Kavan said that the Czech President Mr Vaclav Havel will visit Cyprus next year.
Mr Rolandis also met with Cyrpiot businessmen residing in Cyprus. During the meeting the establishment of a Cyprus - Czech Chamber of Commerce was decided.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/