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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 96-10-12

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: "HR-Net News Distribution Manager" <>


  • [01] US Ambassador expresses optimism
  • [02] Aftershock activity continues
  • [03] Green slams EU commissioner
  • [04] Rifkind: 1997 important year for Cyprus

  • 1030:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] US Ambassador expresses optimism

    Larnaca, Oct 12 (CNA) -- US Ambassador to Cyprus Kenneth Brill has expressed optimism about the future of the island of Cyprus and the relations between the two countries.

    Speaking at a gathering organised by the Larnaca Chapter of the Cyprus-American Association on the occasion of his first visit to the town, Brill noted that associations such as this, help in the process of building the relations between the US and Cyprus.

    ''The US and Cyprus have a variety of things that bring them together. Governments have relations between themselves but what really builds strong relations between countries is what the people do with each other'', he said.

    He added he and his family ''are starting at a very good time in Cyprus. It is a good time to be in Cyprus because there are a lot of good things going on. I am very hopeful for the future, very hopeful for the relationship between the two countries''.

    Brill said he was happy to note that the US is the leading exporter to Cyprus today. ''It shows that our two business communities are doing much'', he noted.

    A piano and cello concert by renowned American artists Stephen Swedish and Andre Emelianoff earlier took place to welcome the Ambassador.

    CNA EC/GP/1996

    [02] Aftershock activity continues

    Nicosia, Oct 12 (CNA) -- A total of 78 aftershocks were registered by the Cyprus Seismological Station between 1900 local time (1600 GMT) yesterday and 0900 (0600 GMT) today.

    The aftershocks measured between 3 to 4.5 on the Richter scale, according to a press release of the Geological Survey Department.

    ''The development of the afteshock activity is described as normal'', it said.

    A strong earthquake measuring 6,1 on the Richter scale hit this East Mediterranean island on Wednesday afternoon, slightly injuring some 50 people and causing extensive damage to buildings mainly in the coastal towns of Paphos and Limassol. The epicentre was some 50 kilometres south west of Paphos.

    Hundreds of aftershocks were recorded, measuring up to 5,5 on the Richter scale.

    Experts from Greece are currently in Cyprus to study this phenomenon.

    On February 23, 1995, an earthquake measuring 5,2 on the Richter scale rocked western Cyprus, killing two people. Many houses were collapsed.

    Cyprus is located in the second major earthquake zone in the world, experiencing many but slight earthquakes in the past.

    A total of 67 people were killed by earthquakes in the last 100 years.

    The following day of Wednesday's earthquake Cyprus was hit by torrential rain, hail and strong winds, causing havoc in the districts of Limassol, and Paphos.

    Over 50 cars were trapped on flooded roads while some 1.000 cypress trees, west of Limassol, were felled by strong winds.

    Army, police, fire brigade and civil defence volunteers rushed to the area to help trapped motorists.

    In Paphos area, crops were completely destroyed by walnut-size hailstones.

    Representatives of government services visited the affected areas to estimate the extent of the damage.

    CNA GP/1996

    [03] Green slams EU commissioner

    Nicosia, Oct 12 (CNA) -- Pauline Green, the leader of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament (EP), has strongly attacked European Union External Affairs Commissioner, Dutch Hans van den Broek for his decision to go ahead with EU aid to Turkey, ignoring EP resolutions adopted last month.

    ''This is nonsense. Pressure is got to be applied and we will apply it,'' she said.

    With an overwhelming majority on September 19, the EP called for a freeze of EU funds destined for Turkey through the EU-Turkey customs union agreement.

    Green told the press after a meeting here today with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides that she made clear ''our commitment to keep the political pressure on Turkey, certainly through allocation of European funds, to make sure all pressure is applied to find a solution to the Cyprus problem.''

    She said ''what we are doing in the European Parliament is to block the money for 1997. We can do that through the budgetary process, which is going on now.''

    The British Labour Euro-MP referred to two resolutions adopted by the European Parliament last month, strongly criticising Turkey for its poor human rights records and its policies towards Cyprus and the Kurds.

    The EP had called on the EU Commission to ''block immediately all the foreseen credit of the European programme MEDA for funding projects in Turkey'' except those concerning the promotion of democracy and human rights.

    It declared that ''human rights violations, which continue to be perpetrated in Turkey, contradict the spirit and letter of the EU-Turkey customs union agreement.''

    The EP also strongly condemned the murders of the two Greek Cypriot young demonstrators by Turkish troops and extremists in the UN-controlled buffer zone at Dherynia, in August.

    It called on Turkey to implement UN resolutions on Cyprus and demanded the withdrawal of the ''military occupation forces'' from Cyprus.

    Turkish troops have been occupying 37 per cent of Cyprus territory since 1974, in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdrawal.

    Pauline Green had also a meeting with Cyprus House of Representatives President Spyros Kyprianou, to whom she expressed the determination of her 217-strong group in the European Parliament to exert pressure on Turkey, through freezing EU funds.

    Kyprianou described his meeting with Green as ''very useful'' and praised her determination to struggle for justice in Cyprus.

    CNA GP/1996

    [04] Rifkind: 1997 important year for Cyprus

    London, Oct 12 (CNA) -- Britain's Foreign Secretary Malcom Rifkind said 1997 will be an important year for Cyprus as he is seeing now an opportunity to seek a breakthrough in the protracted Cyprus problem.

    Rifkind was replying to a question put forward by Andreas Papaevripides, representing Cyprus' ruling rightwing Democratic Rally party in the Conservative Party Conference, which ended yesterday at Bournemouth.

    The British Secretary noted that ''at a time when such huge progress has been achieved in many of the great problems of the world, Cyprus nothing has changed''.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

    ''I believe that there is now an opportunity to seek a breakthrough'', Rifkind said.

    He added ''increasingly both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots are identifying not only the benefits of a negotiated agreement represents but also perhaps some of the way forward. Highly relevant to do this is Cyprus' application to join the European Union.''

    He expressed the view that these negotiations will be ''complex negotiations'' and that they will be even more influently complicated if Cyprus remains a divided island.

    ''It is clearly that is going to be a rather difficult problem for the European Union to address,'' he noted.

    He said negotiations for Cyprus' accession will begin not later than six months after the Intergovernmental Conference and is likely to be at the end of next year at the worse, ''so 1997 will be an important year''.

    Rifkind said his country does not intend to lodge a separate initiative on the Cyprus problem and it is part of the efforts of the United Nations, of the European Union and of others.

    ''But we do have a specific direct involvement to our historical link with Cyprus, through our status as a guarantor power, we maintain two sovereign bases in Cyprus and because of the large Greek Cypriot community here in the United Kingdom, so I do intend to develop our contacts with the Cyprus government and the representatives of the Turkish Cypriot community.''

    He added the case of Cyprus, ''much of that is already known, that Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders must accept a bizonal, bicommunal federal republic.''

    CNA KT/GP/1996

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