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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 03-09-03

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/>

  • [01]Wednesday, 03 September 2003 Foreign Minister returns from Syria
  • [02] Interior Ministry awaits political decisions on issue of Euro- elections, says Interior Minister
  • [03] Euro MPs condemn expulsion of Greek Cypriot teachers and call for immediate reopening of Rizokarpaso High School

    [01] Foreign Minister returns from Syria

    The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Georgios Iacovou, returned yesterday afternoon from Damascus, Syria, where he had paid an official visit at the invitation of his Syrian counterpart, Mr Farouk Al-Shara. During his stay, Mr Iacovou held talks, inter alia, with the Syrian President, Mr Bashar Al- Assad, the Syrian Foreign Minister, the Prime Minister, Mr Mohammad Mustafa Miro, the Speaker of the Syrian Parliament, Mr Mohammad Naji Al-Otri, and the Patriarch of Antioch, Ignatius IV. Speaking to the press upon his arrival at Larnaca Airport, Mr Iacovou said that the primary purpose of his visit to Damascus was to brief Syrian officials on the Cyprus problem, in light of the Islamic summit which would take place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in October. In addition, Mr Iacovou discussed with his interlocutors the issue of bilateral agreements which would have to be amended in view of Cyprus' accession to the European Union on 1 May 2004. EU-Syrian relations were also discussed and in particular Syria's pursuit for the signing of an Association Agreement with the European Union, the Foreign Minister added. Asked to comment on the latest move by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to call on Greek Cypriots to return to the occupied town of Famagusta under Turkish Cypriot administration, Mr Iacovou cited the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions 550 and 789 as indicative of the international community's position on how the issue of Famagusta should be settled and expressed the belief that the international community would not change its position. "Surely I expect various games by Mr Denktash starting from now and until the so-called 'elections' in the occupied areas at the end of the year. As he has done many times in the past, I believe he will use Famagusta as a pawn in his games", Mr Iacovou added.

    [02] Interior Ministry awaits political decisions on issue of Euro- elections, says Interior Minister

    The Minister of Interior, Mr Andreas Christou, has noted that his Ministry was waiting for political parties to take decisions on the disputed issue of participation in the June 2004 European Parliament elections before it could complete its work preparing for the elections. "These elections will be held for the first time in Cyprus and we hope for the biggest possible participation of Turkish Cypriots and foreign citizens nationals of EU member states, who will be allowed to vote, since they live in Cyprus, either for the Cypriot delegation to the European Parliament or for the delegation of their country of origin", Mr Christou told reporters yesterday. He further said that the President of the Republic, Mr Tassos Papadopoulos, had already contacted all the parliamentary parties requesting that they decide on their participation in the elections.

    [03] Euro MPs condemn expulsion of Greek Cypriot teachers and call for immediate reopening of Rizokarpaso High School

    The Greek and British Euro MPs, Mr Demetris Tsatsos and Ms Theresa Villiers, speaking at the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Monday, have condemned the expulsion of two Greek Cypriot teachers and their children from the occupied village of Rizokarpaso by the illegal regime in the Turkish-occupied areas of the island. They both called on the European Parliament President, Mr Pat Cox, to put pressure on Ankara and its puppet regime in occupied Cyprus to allow the reopening of the Rizokarpaso High School as soon as possible. The Greek MEP, Mr Tsatsos, conveyed to his colleagues the fears of the Karpass Coordinating Committee about the possible expulsion of all remaining enclaved Greek Cypriots, starting with the families with children in high school. He added that the occupation regime was threatening to close down the Rizokarpaso Primary School as well, which was the only Greek school operating in the occupied areas. On her part Ms Villiers said, "Mr Denktash's refusal to reopen the school - without any reasons given - forces children living in the occupied areas to attend High Schools in the free areas. This leads to the break up of families and is an attempt by Mr Denktash to force those in the occupied areas to leave their homes and villages. It is shameful that children are being manipulated in this way. The right to an education is a humanitarian issue - it is a disgrace that Mr Denktash puts dogma before the educational interest of these children." The British MEP also noted that in light of the Turkish Cypriot leader's intransigence, she had written to both British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and EU Enlargement Commissioner Gunter Verheugen calling on them to do all they could to see the Rizokarpaso High School reopened as soon as possible. "Closure of secondary schools in enclaved Greek Cypriot communities was one of the matters that the European Court of Human Rights declared was a breach of human rights by the Turkish government in Ankara", Ms Villiers stressed in her letters to Mr Straw and Mr Verheugen.

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


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