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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-08-08

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

August 8, 2006

CONTENTS

  • [01] FM outlines Athens' position over draft UNSC resolution for Lebanon; meets with Syrian minister
  • [02] Synaspismos leader meets with Iranian envoy to discuss Lebanon crisis
  • [03] PASOK leader and SI president Papandreou holds talks in Helsinki on Mideast
  • [04] Synasmismos leader meets Cuban ambassador
  • [05] Credit Agricole seen buying 60% of Emporiki Bank
  • [06] New airport on Kalymnos to be inaugurated this week
  • [07] Athens-Erbil air link with weekly charted flights
  • [08] Foreign capital in bourse edges up
  • [09] Natural History Museum in Tsotyli, Kozani
  • [10] 28th 'River Party' ends at Nestorio site
  • [11] Tax exempt status for donations towards Orthodox Church of Albania
  • [12] Wildfires briefly interrupt traffic on Corinth-Patras highway
  • [13] Archaeoligical sites and monuments open on night of Aug. 9
  • [14] Government says Turkish Cypriots reproaching Greek Cypriots without reason
  • [15] Cypriot minister calls on EU to prepare plan for Lebanon oil spill
  • [16] Cypriot government in contact with US over American evacuees
  • [17] US thanks Cyprus for assisting evacuation of US citizens from Lebanon
  • [18] AHEPA calls on US to back withdrawal of Turkish army from Cyprus

  • [01] FM outlines Athens' position over draft UNSC resolution for Lebanon; meets with Syrian minister

    ATHENS, 8/8/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said on Monday she would depart for New York to attend a UN Security Council emergency meeting on the crisis in Lebanon.

    Speaking in Athens after a meeting with Syrian Information Minister Mohsen Bilal, held at his request, the Greek foreign minister noted that the UN Security Council has to put an end to an unjustifiable 23-day silence over the "vicious circle of violence that has caused death and suffering in Lebanon and Israel and a continuously deteriorating humanitarian crisis as well as hard to calculate disaster to the people of Lebanon."

    "The UN Security Council must take decisions to finally launch a meaningful and effective international community intervention for the immediate cessation of violence, and to achieve a lasting and stable peace in the sorely tried Middle East region," Bakoyannis added, while she expressed a hope that the UN Security Council meeting will take place as soon as possible.

    Bakoyannis stated that the basis for the UN Security Council consultations is the plan jointly drawn up by France and the United States, stressing that Athens was among the first countries to insist from the beginning on an immediate ceasefire and that it has actively supported an immediate UN Security Council meeting to manage the crisis.

    Referring to EU member-state Greece and its role as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, she stated that Athens is displaying a moderate and constructive attitude in order to achieve a synthesis of viewpoints aimed at reaching decisions that will enjoy the widest possible acceptance and support by the international community.

    Within this framework, Bakoyannis said she is in constant contact with her counterparts, having already spoken with French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy and EU High Representative Javier Solana as well as her counterparts from Lebanon and Jordan.

    The expected UN Security Council decision should, according to the Greek foreign minister, become the first step in a greater diplomatic effort to restore and consolidate a viable peace not only in Lebanon but in the wider Middle East region, an emphasis on the Palestinian issue.

    Bakoyannis concluded that the following days will be crucial for this effort, while expressing support to the Lebanese government and Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. She stressed that a stable and strong government in Lebanon is a precondition for peace and stability in the region.

    Responding to the question if she will visit the Middle East, Bakoyannis stated that it will depend on the reason and the results that could be achieved through such a trip, adding that the EU acts collectively in the region.

    Syrian minister: The Syrian information minister thanked Bakoyannis for Greece's stance, adding that their meeting was a chance to be mutually briefed. He also invited her to visit Syria.

    Greece plays an important role and can play an even more important role in the Middle East because it is highly regarded and respected in the region and for this reason it can play a regional and international role, Bilal said.

    He added that Syria is on Lebanon's side for necessary humanitarian aid, whereas it now hosts a total of 250,000 Lebanese refugees, 500,000 Iraqis and 450,000 Palestinians on its territory, stressing that the crisis in the region has cost Damascus dearly.

    Finally, the Syrian minister underlined that a permanent solution will come with a settlement of the dispute between the Israelis and the Arabs, one that mandates Israel's withdrawal back to its pre-1967 borders and the return of Lebanon's territories, the Golan Heights and Palestinian territories.

    KKE comments on FM's statements on UN Security Council's scheduled meeting: The Communist Party of Greece, in an announcement on Monday evening, following talks which Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis had earlier in the day in Athens with Syrian Information Minister Mohsen Bilal, said that "the government should at long last leave behind its diplomatic language of misleading and of guilt, and say things as they really are."

    The KKE press release said "the problem is not what was claimed by the foreign minister that: the Security Council 'is obliged to put an end to the unjustifiable 23 days of silence'."

    The KKE added:” There was no silence from the United States and the European Union. The provocative support they offer to the war which Israel is conducting against the peoples of Palestine and Lebanon, was and continues to be deafening."

    "The American-French draft resolution is unjust and aggressive; it vindicates the raider, Israel, and its crimes and has as its sole objective the quelling of the peoples' resistance."

    "We call on the Greek government to change stance. In no case should it support this draft resolution which is at the expense of the entire peoples of the Middle East."

    "A just draft resolution, in favor of peace and of the peoples, is only that which demands the immediate stopping, without conditions, of Israel's murderous raids and for it to withdraw from all the territory it is occupying."

    The UN Security Council is scheduled to convene on Tuesday.

    [02] Synaspismos leader meets with Iranian envoy to discuss Lebanon crisis

    ATHENS, 8/8/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) leader Alekos Alavanos on Monday met with Iranian ambassador to Greece Mehdi Mohtashami for talks focusing squarely on the ongoing crisis in Lebanon as well as on a US-French plan being promoted at the UN Security Council to defuse the situation.

    According to a Synaspismos press release, Alavanos again referred to a "guilty silence" on the part of Athens vis-à-vis a "provocative US-French plan", as he noted. He also called on the government to avoid what he called an "awful collusion" with Washington over the initiative.

    Asked about a potential Greek military presence in any possible peacekeeping force to be deployed in southern Lebanon, Alavanos cited a handful of conditions that would first have to be met, namely, acceptance by both sides (Israel and Lebanon); avoidance of becoming a military extension of Israel or assisting in legalizing Israeli military operations; inclusion of such a force in an overall Mideast solution, and finally, absolute UN control.

    On his part, the Iranian envoy expressed his country's opposition to the draft UN Security Council resolution, while calling for an immediate ceasefire and the evacuation of Israeli forces from Lebanon along with the return of refugees to their homes.

    Meanwhile, in a related development, more than 10 tons of humanitarian aid, including pharmaceuticals and foodstuffs, has been gathered in the northern city of Thessaloniki and is ready for delivery to war-plagued civilians in the Middle East.

    Donations are being gathered at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) following an initiative by the Macedonia-Thrace Ministry and the Orthodox Church's NGO "Allilegii" (Solidarity).

    [03] PASOK leader and SI president Papandreou holds talks in Helsinki on Mideast

    HELSINKI, 8/8/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader and President of Socialist International (SI) George Papandreou held talks here on Monday, following an invitation by Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, whose country currently holds the EU rotating presidency.

    The purpose of Papandreou's visit was to take part in talks with politicians and foreign ministers from the Scandinavian countries, focusing on the Middle East, Iran, Turkey's course towards the European Union, the Cyprus issue and the future of Europe.

    On arrival in Helsinki, he met with the leadership of Finland's Socialist Party, and later with Tuomioja and Norwegian Foreign Minister Minister Jonas Gahr Store, who is co-president of SI's Committee for the Middle East. He also met with Foreign Minister of Iceland Valgerdur Sverrisdottir and Latvian Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks.

    After the meetings, Papandreou said:” I am here today, in Finland to meet with the President of the European Union's General Affairs Council, the foreign minister of Finland, but also with other foreign ministers of the region on issues which are urgent and critical, such as the issue of the Middle East, of Lebanon, but also on issues which have arisen during the course of the Finnish presidency, such as the issue of Turkey's course towards the European Union."

    "Regarding Lebanon, unfortunately we are daily witnessing Lebanon's catastrophe. And the international community is unable to date to take measures in order for there to be an immediate ceasefire. The resolution which is being discussed at the UN Security Council seems that it is not satisfactory and political will is needed so that there will really be a ceasefire, a truce, by all sides," Papandreou added.

    The PASOK leader went on to say:” I want to recall that here in Helsinki, we took the great decision for Turkey's candidacy but also Cyprus' (EU) accession, the course for the accession of Cyprus but also the settlement of the major issue of our country's continental shelf in relation to Turkey."

    "I believe that it is an opportunity for a new road map, a new Helsinki, which will again place the Cyprus issue in a course of solution in accordance with the European acquis communautaire and in accordance with the obligations Turkey has towards the European Union and of course, towards the EU member which is called the Republic of Cyprus," he concluded.

    On his way to Helsinki and during a stop-over at Munich airport, Papandreou held telephone talks with Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa and former Israeli defense minister Efraim Sneh, while on arrival at Helsinki airport he had telephone contacts with Syrian President Bashar al Assad and Syrian Information Minister Mohsen Bilal.

    [04] Synasmismos leader meets Cuban ambassador

    ATHENS, 8/8/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synspismos) leader Alekos Alavanos on Monday met with Cuban Ambassador in Athens Hermes Herrera Hernandez.

    In statements after the meeting, Alavanos wished "for a speedy recovery" of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who, he said, "is a legendary figure of the world revolutionary movement."

    Alavanos expressed his party's condemnation of "the continuous American interventions and of the president and secretary of state of the United States" in Cuba.

    Alavanos added:” Maybe they are dreaming of Cuba becoming again the casino and brothel of the U.S. However, time does not turn back. One should note that the greatest adversary at this moment and the greatest enemy of Cuba's development and social democratic course is the U.S. itself, with the suffocating embargo which it has imposed and the continuous undermining which it is advancing."

    On his part, the Cuban ambassador said "the situation in Cuba is normal."

    Ambassador Herrera Hernandez added:” Naturally, we are concerned about Fidel's health. He is continuing to be under medical observation. Unfortunately, he had to concede his powers for a few weeks, but the situation is normal. Raul (Fidel's brother) was accepted from the very first day. And naturally, there is no crisis in Cuba, as (U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza) Mrs. Rice referred. Everything will be fine in a few weeks."

    [05] Credit Agricole seen buying 60% of Emporiki Bank

    ATHENS, 8/8/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Credit Agricole is expected to acquire more than 60% of Athens-quoted Emporiki Bank as its public call for stock comes to an end, analysts said on Monday.

    According to the employment ministry, social insurance funds have opted to sell to the French bank shares representing 22.4% of Emporiki's share capital, which would take the acquisition total above 60%.

    On Monday, Credit Agricole told market authorities that it held approximately 16.50% of Emporiki after acquiring at 25 euros each 1,186,326 common ordinary voting shares through the Athens bourse on August 4, representing approximately 0.90% of voting rights. Before the purchase, the French bank directly held around 15.60 %.

    Workers at Emporiki Bank staged a strike from August 1-7 in protest at the government's privatization process for the state-run bank, which has also angered the parliamentary opposition.

    Last week, the government accepted an offer from Credit Agricole for the acquisition of 11% of stock the state holds in Emporiki as part of the public offering in which Credit aimed to amass at least 40% of Emporiki's shares.

    Also on Monday, the national OTOE bank workers union and Emporiki's staff association claimed that the bank's pension fund, TAPETE, had taken an illegal decision to sell stock to Credit Agricole as several board members were absent, which meant the session was inquorate.

    Backing the two union groups in their complaint were the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement and Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology, who alleged that the government was coercing pension funds into selling stock.

    [06] New airport on Kalymnos to be inaugurated this week

    8/8/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Transport Minister Michalis Liapis will head a joint civil aviation administration and state-run Olympic Airways (OA) delegation to the Dodecanese islands of Kalymnos and Rhodes this week for the inauguration of a new and much-awaited airport on the former and a new terminal at the Diagoras Airport on the latter well-known holiday isle.

    Both projects are expected to boost economic and tourism development on the islands.

    [07] Athens-Erbil air link with weekly charted flights

    ATHENS, 8/8/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Kurdish inhabitants in Iraq will henceforth have an air link with Athens through "Eleftherios Venizelos" International Airport. It concerns a chartered flight which will take place once a week by the Swedish company Viking Airlines.

    The flight will depart from Athens' international airport every Wednesday night at 01:35 and reach Erbil in Iraq at 05:35. The return flight will depart at 06:25 of Thursday and reach Athens at 08:25.

    According to an announcement on Monday, Athens was chosen as an intermediate stop for Erbil for two reasons. Firstly, because it is nearer to Europe's regions where many Kurdish immigrants live, and secondly, because it presents a high level of security.

    Exclusive representative of this new air link in Greece is the travel agency Mid East Travel.

    [08] Foreign capital in bourse edges up

    ATHENS, 8/8/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Placements by investors from abroad in the Athens Stock Exchange rose to 42.47% in July 2006 versus 41.89% a month earlier, the Central Share Depository said on Monday.

    Foreign placements in the FTSE-ASE/20 high capitalization index accounted for 45.01% of the index, down from 45.45% in June, the depository said in a monthly statement.

    Athens Bourse Close: Stocks rise: The Athens share index closed at 3,877.09 points, showing a rise of 0.84%. Turnover was 236.3 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.85% up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 0.16% higher; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.90% up.

    Of stocks traded, advances led declines at 136 to 101 with 63 remaining unchanged.

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Alpha Bank (517)

  • Total derivatives market turnover: 187.0 million euros

    Bond Market Close: Buyers lag sellers

  • Greek benchmark 10-year bond (exp. 20.7.2016): 4.21% yield

  • German benchmark 10-year bond: 3.90%

  • Most heavily traded paper: 10-year bond, expiring 20.7.2016 (750 mln euros)

  • Day's Total Market Turnover: 1.6 bln euros

    Foreign Exchange Rates: Tuesday

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.295

    [09] Natural History Museum in Tsotyli, Kozani

    8/8/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The town of Tsotyli in the prefecture of Kozani, northwest Greece, recently acquired its own Museum of Natural History, allowing visitors the opportunity to view diverse geological exhibits and paleontological findings dating back millions of years ago, all unearthed only recently during excavations in the region.

    The museum, to be formally inaugurated on Aug. 13, is part of a joint initiative by the municipality of Tsotyli, the Ano Voion Studies Society and the University of Patras. It will feature two wings, geology and paleontology.

    Located on Mt. Voio, Tsotyli presumably got its name from the Greek word "kotyli" (hollow), as its site is indeed a hollow in the mountain. Records show that it was probably founded in the 15th century, when numerous Greek Orthodox Christians fled the wider region's plains for more mountainous areas after western Macedonia was invaded by the Muslim Ottomans. The entire area was incorporated into modern-day Greece following the First Balkan War in 1912.

    The town is also known for its historic "Tsotyleios Scholi" lyceum, founded in 1871 by the Macedonian Educational Brotherhood of Constantinople, and for a model boarding school, founded in 1958, to host troubled juveniles.

    [10] 28th 'River Party' ends at Nestorio site

    8/8/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Around 35,000 people, most camped along the Aliakmonas River's banks, attended the 28th "River Party" in Nestorio, Kastoria (northwest Greece), which ended late Sunday evening.

    This year's River Party kicked off last Thursday with thousands of mostly young people attending one of Greece's biggest rock music and river sports festivals.

    The Nestorio River Party is an annual event held at the beginning of August. It was first started by the teenaged children of Greek expatriates who spent their summer vacations in their parents' native towns throughout western and central Macedonia.

    [11] Tax exempt status for donations towards Orthodox Church of Albania

    ATHENS, 8/8/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Private individuals and companies wishing to make donations to the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania will now enjoy tax exemption status in Greece based on a new law effective Jan. 1, 2006.

    Also, the Orthodox Church of Albania will be listed amongst the institutions that are exempt from inheritance taxes normally paid by beneficiaries based on legislation in effect since Jan. 1, 2004.

    The development means that any estate donated to the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania after Jan. 1, 2004 will be exempt from the inheritance tax, while the Church is not obligated to declare the acquisition in a tax statement.

    [12] Wildfires briefly interrupt traffic on Corinth-Patras highway

    8/8/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Firefighters on Monday extinguished three wildfires that erupted almost simultaneously on both sides of a section of the Corinth-Patras national highway in the northern coastal Peloponnese, the main roadway connecting Athens with the eponymous province of southern Greece.

    The fires were put out before spreading although vehicles backed up in both lanes for several kilometers, with normal traffic conditions resuming only in the early afternoon. According to reports, the fire brigade is investigating the likelihood of arson.

    Wildfire near Lamia under control: Firefighters managed to extinguish a wildfire early Monday previously fanned by strong winds after battling the blaze throughout most of the previous evening near the village of Styrfaka, 15 kilometers from Lamia, central Greece.

    According to reports, the wildfire was stopped just before reaching the first residences of the village.

    Another blaze, meanwhile, erupted some four kilometers to the east from the initial fire, only to be extinguished a few hours later.

    [13] Archaeoligical sites and monuments open on night of Aug. 9

    ATHENS, 8/8/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    By decision of the Culture Ministry on Monday, archaeological sites and monuments all over the country will be open to the public on the night of the full moon on August 9 (until 01:00).

    [14] Government says Turkish Cypriots reproaching Greek Cypriots without reason

    NICOSIA, 8/8/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardis on Monday expressed the Cypriot government's regret over the fact that the Turkish Cypriot side continues to reproach the Greek Cypriot side ''without reason and project political positions and terms for a Cyprus settlement, which do not contribute to creating the appropriate atmosphere and good climate in discussions underway to promote the implementation of the agreement'' reached on July 8 for the discussion of Cyprus problem aspects at a technical level.

    Pashiardis reaffirmed that the Greek Cypriot side ''will continue unaffected to work towards the full implementation of the agreed, avoiding every comment, every action and every public controversy which certainly do not help towards implementing the July 8 agreement.''

    Replying to questions, Pashiardis said the agreement provides for the setting up of technical committees to discuss day-to-day issues and bicommunal work teams of experts to discuss issues of substance.

    He added that there would most probably be a new meeting of the representatives of the leaders of the two communities, Tasos Tzionis and Rasit Pertev.

    Asked if the government was worried that through this process there would be acknowledgement of the Turkish Cypriot regime and that the aim was for Turkey to pass its EU assessment, Pashiardis said ''if this is a game played by the Turkish side, we are not interested in these games or the creation of impressions.''

    ''We remain consistent with the July 8 agreement and with all good will and in every constructive spirit we are working for the implementation of this agreement. We are not rushing to speak about the end of the agreement. What interests us at this moment is to work and cooperate with the Turkish Cypriot leadership to implement this agreement of July 8,'' he added.

    Replying to questions, Pashiardis said a date had not yet been set for a meeting of the leaders of the two communities, adding that the July 8 agreement provided for such meetings from time to time, in order to review the work of the technical committees and give guidelines.

    [15] Cypriot minister calls on EU to prepare plan for Lebanon oil spill

    NICOSIA, 8/8/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment Fotis Fotiou reassured here Monday that there is no danger in the next weeks for the oil spill caused by the Israeli bombing of Lebanon to reach Cyprus' shores, adding the EU must prepare and implement immediately an action plan to confront the ecological catastrophe caused.

    Fotiou told reporters the fact that the oil spill cannot be dealt with at this moment, creates a big problem, explaining that for this reason he has asked the Finnish Minister of Environment who is presiding the Council of EU ministers on the Environment, to call an extraordinary meeting to prepare an action plan to deal with the situation.

    He said Cyprus has expressed readiness to support such an effort like other countries such as Greece and Norway.

    ''Maybe at this moment we are not facing the danger to see the oil spill in our waters, but this does not mean we do not care because we do care about the ecological catastrophe already caused in the area'', Fotiou added.

    He emphasized ''we must not forget the Mediterranean is a closed basin and sooner or later the ecological catastrophe will affect us too'', adding that ''many weeks, probably months will be needed to confront the situation''.

    "We are talking about 20.000-30.000 oil tons in a close basin, which for three weeks now has not been confronted," Fotiou said, adding that the catastrophe in the ecosystem is huge and will affect all eastern Mediterranean countries.

    [16] Cypriot government in contact with US over American evacuees

    NICOSIA, 8/8/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardis said Monday that both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior are in contact with the US Embassy in Nicosia regarding the issue of US citizens who were brought to the island from Lebanon and remain outside the Embassy in a reaction to not being allowed to fly to the United States.

    Pashiardis said the issue was the sole responsibility of the Americans and not the Cypriot government.

    To a remark that these people are in a poor state, the spokesman said this is the responsibility of the US side, adding that their basic needs were being covered by the Red Cross.

    Asked what the US intended to do about its citizens, Pashiardis said he could only speak on behalf of the Cypriot government and pointed out that the American side must fulfill its responsibilities.

    [17] US thanks Cyprus for assisting evacuation of US citizens from Lebanon

    NICOSIA, 8/8/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    The US Embassy in Cyprus has thanked the Cyprus government and the Cyprus people for their support to US efforts to evacuate thousands of Americans from Lebanon.

    "Thank you for your astonishing and moving support of US efforts to return thousands of Americans home safely from Lebanon," a press release issued by the Embassy said, noting that "your generous contributions and unflagging support have helped make this gigantic humanitarian mission a huge success."

    Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Cyprus Ronald Schlicher speaking at a online interactive forum on the State Department website, replying to questions by US citizens, said that many Cypriots told him that they identify with people in Lebanon who are displaced or seeking refuge as Cypriots have recent memories of 1974, when 200,000 people cut of a population of 600,000 were forced to leave their homes.

    "This could be one explanation for the tremendous outpouring of support we have witnessed here in Cyprus for Americans arriving from Lebanon to Cyprus before returning home," he added.

    He thanked the Cypriot government and people "for the tremendous support they provided. The government opened its ports and airports to us, provided us with hundreds of cots at an emergency shelter. Businesses donated milk, baby food, cereal, bread, and medicine for Americans who were waiting at the fairgrounds for onward flights, and individuals by the hundreds volunteered their time and made individual donations as well. It was a heart warming outpouring of support," he noted.

    Schlicher noted that "a lesson learned here is that sometimes the most difficult times bring out the best in people. On a more political level, my personal impression is that both Cyprus and Lebanon, in order to achieve stability and meet the aspirations of their people, must find domestic political frameworks which, while somehow taking account of ethnic and cultural and religious diversity, provide a common basis of guaranteed rights, rather as our forbearers did in writing our own Constitution."

    "This is the essence of the political task before the Cypriots, with the UN serving as the mediator in the effort. The Cypriots have sensibly decided that the best way to achieve a solution is through a political process, rather than through communal violence and militarization. This is a good example to other countries with similar issues in need of resolution," he noted.

    Replying to another question, he said "the United States Government recognizes the Government of Cyprus in Nicosia as the sovereign government of the island, and does not and will not recognize what is known as the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus". Still, in our effort to help reunite the island, we work with both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in the pursuit of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation."

    Furthermore 111 members of the US Congress in a letter to Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos express on behalf of the people of the United States "our most sincere gratitude for Cyprus's extraordinary efforts to assist American citizens evacuating Lebanon. Your government has responded commendably by launching a major effort to support the evacuation of US citizens and other leaving Lebanon," they noted.

    "Cyprus' commendable reaction to this crisis is reminiscent of your country's response to the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing, when Cyprus provided the staging ground for the United States' evacuation and rescue efforts. Today, the whole world is benefiting from Cyprus' actions and leadership in the region," they said.

    The US Congresspersons appreciated and commended Cyprus' leadership in this time of crisis.

    [18] AHEPA calls on US to back withdrawal of Turkish army from Cyprus

    ATHENS, 8/8/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) has called on the US government to support the immediate removal of all Turkish occupation military forces and illegal colonists from Cyprus.

    It also urged Washington to back the settlement of the Cyprus problem through negotiations based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation in a sovereign state, the EU acquis communautaire, democratic norms, resolutions on Cyprus and the pertinent decisions of the European Court of Human Rights.

    In a resolution, adopted during its annual congress at the US, AHEPA invited the US government to support the return to the government of Cyprus of the occupied town of Famagusta for resettlement of displaced persons under UN supervision.

    The resolution said that the US has an important stake in fostering good relations between NATO allies, Greece and Turkey, and in achieving a just and viable settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    It noted that Turkey's continuing illegal occupation of Cyprus, its intransigence in solving the Cyprus problem, its refusal to recognize Cyprus as a member of the EU, its continuing violations of Greece's territorial integrity and ongoing human rights violations in Turkey itself threaten and prevent stability in the area and by extension US interests.

    Furthermore it noted that Turkey, an aspiring EU country, continues to refuse to recognize the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member state, and refuses to implement the EU protocol that it signed allowing Greek Cypriot ships and planes to use its ports and airports.

    It said the government and the people of Cyprus remain committed to establishing a just and viable reunification of their country and the partial opening of the "Green Line" has dramatically illustrated that the Greek and Turkish communities of Cyprus can live together in peace and harmony.

    The resolution added that "ever since 76% of the Greek Cypriots voted against the undemocratic, unworkable and financially not viable Annan plan", the US Administration "has been openly promoting ways to shift the blame on the Greek Cypriots and find ways to "remove the economic isolation of Turkish Cypriots"."


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