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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-02-13

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] CNA, XINHUA sign cooperation agreement
  • [02] Cyprus First Lady visits home town
  • [03] Britain will not allow Turkish veto, says Davis
  • [04] Controversy over travel advice
  • [05] Cyprus envoys meet in London
  • [06] House approves defence budget
  • [07] Bicommunal exhibition opens

  • 1545:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] CNA, XINHUA sign cooperation agreement

    Nicosia, Feb 13 (CNA) -- A cooparation agreement was signed here today between the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) and the Chinese News Agency, XINHUA.

    The agreement was signed by CNA Director Andreas Christofides and XINHUA Bureau Chief in Nicosia Huang Jianming.

    Present at the signing ceremony at CNA premises were China's Ambassador in Nicosia Yin Zuojin, Third Secretary at the Chinese Embassy Liu Jing Dong, Director of the Office of Cyprus Foreign Minister Andreas Mavroyiannis and CNA Editor-in-Chief George Penintaex.

    Under the agreement, the two agencies will regulate their mutual relations concerning the use of their services and will provide information and technical facilities to the correspondents of either party.

    They will also exchange mutual visits of their officials, as well as journalists and technicians, for professional training.

    Speaking after the signing of the agreement, Christofides expressed the conviction "that the agreement will lead to more understanding, not only between the two agencies, but also between the peoples of China and Cyprus".

    He said "we very much appreciate the opportunity to sign" this agreement and "we know what information can do in this world". He stressed that "exchange and cooperation give the chance to know each other better".

    He thanked China for being "a steady and steadfast supporter of Cyprus and its people" and of the efforts for a solution to the Cyprus problem within the framework of the United Nations.

    The Chinese Ambassador expressed "warm congratulations for the signing of the agreement", saying it will "open a new chapter in cooperation between the two agencies".

    Ambassador Zuojin added "the agreement will contribute towards understanding between the two peoples and the relations of the two countries".

    CNA RG/GP/1997

    [02] Cyprus First Lady visits home town

    by Maria Chrysanthou

    Bombay, Feb 13 (CNA) -- Cyprus' First Lady, Lila Erini Clerides, returned today to her home town, Bombay, the place where she lived until she was 11.

    President Glafcos Clerides accompanied by the First Lady, Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides, Government Spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides and other Cypriot officials, are on a six day state visit to India.

    The Cypriot officials were welcomed to Bombay by Maharashtra state Governor D.C. Alexander, who will hold a dinner in their honour later today.

    On Friday, the President and government officials will visit important sights and attend a lunch offered by the Confederation of Indian Industry. They will also meet the Chief Minister of Maharashtra.

    Clerides will remain in Bombay until Saturday, February 15, when he will depart for his return trip.

    President Clerides met his Indian wife while studying law in Britain, but have lived in Cyprus since he completed his studies.

    CNA MCH/MA/AP/1997

    [03] Britain will not allow Turkish veto, says Davis

    London, Feb 13 (CNA) -- Britain has not accepted "either an explicit or an implicit Turkish veto", said Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, David Davis regarding Cyprus' accession to the European Union (EU).

    Davis made the statement, when asked by Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary Robin Cook whether Britain realises that setting a solution of the Cyprus problem as a precondition to Cyprus' accession to the EU would create the danger of a Turkish veto.

    Davis added that Britain would "not allow a situation to arise in which such a veto could be exercised."

    The British official said that accession would "undoubtedly be easier if there were a solution," to the Cyprus problem.

    Speaking before the House of Commons on Foreign and Commonwealth affairs yesterday, Davis reiterated Britain's support to the island's accession to the EU "on the basis that it will benefit all Cyprus's people".

    In fact, he noted, people in the Turkish occupied north "will make particular financial gain".

    Davis expressed the view that the "secret to progress" was to be "even- handed with both communities."

    At the same time, he said "there is a need for a reduction in military weaponry and presence on both sides" of the divide.

    "Only by that route will there be a reduction in the tensions that afflict Cyprus," he added.

    Referring to bicommunal contacts, Davis said that Britain "will do everything it can to promote any method of improving the situation and of devising a solution to the Cyprus problem".

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of the island's territory.

    Britain is one of the guarantor powers in the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee, the others being Greece and Turkey.

    CNA KT/EC/AP/1997

    [04] Controversy over travel advice

    Nicosia, Feb 13 (CNA) -- Cyprus Acting President Spyros Kyprianou insists on government information that the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office is indirectly discouraging tourists from visiting the island and has asked for representations to be made, the second this week.

    However, the British side is firm in its position that no travel advice was given either to individuals or travel agencies, noting it considers Cyprus "a perfectly safe country to visit".

    The Acting President repeated today the government has information from London, about Foreign Office (FO) travel advice "which uses phrases that could be interpreted as meaning there is a problem in Cyprus."

    He said that according to government departments, the FO has indirectly urged British citizens not to visit Cyprus.

    Kyprianou said Cyprus' High Commissioner in Britain has been asked to make new representations over the issue, asking the FO to put the record straight.

    A British High Commission spokesman, told CNA today "the FO has no travel advice to Cyprus, which means we consider Cyprus a perfectly safe country to visit."

    "We have not advised any travel agencies or individuals not to visit Cyprus," he added.

    The spokesman said if Kyprianou "has any firm evidence to the contrary we would be very happy to look into it."

    Well informed sources quote the FO Consular Section as saying there are no particular problems for one to travel to Cyprus, at the moment, but it is important to keep in touch with the High Commission in Nicosia.

    It adds it can not predict what may occur in Cyprus, in the future, so whoever intends to travel to the island during this period should be in constant contact with the High Commission.

    On Wednesday, Cyprus' High Commissioner in London, Vanias Markides, made representations over the information regarding the travel advice.

    CNA SD/MA/AP/1997

    [05] Cyprus envoys meet in London

    London, Feb 13 (CNA) -- Officials of the Russian and British governments today exchanged views regarding ways to promote a solution to the protracted Cyprus problem.

    The issue was discussed in London by Vladimir Tchizhov, Head of the Third Directorate for European Affairs at the Russian Foreign Ministry, and Britain's Representative for Cyprus, Sir David Hannay.

    Tchizhov and Hannay also discussed a Russian proposal for a meeting of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to discuss coordination of efforts for a Cyprus settlement.

    According to CNA sources, Britain does not object to holding such a meeting, while Russian ambassador to Cyprus, Georgi Mouratov, announced this week that his country's proposal has been accepted.

    Speaking to the press today, Mouratov described the meeting as the "first important step" in coordinating all efforts for Cyprus.

    Mouratov also expressed the view that it is uncertain whether the US initiative on Cyprus will develop.

    Tchizhov also had a working lunch with Haydon Warren Gash, Director of the South European Department at the Foreign Office, where they discussed the Cyprus issue.

    The two diplomats exchanged views on the Cyprus government's decision to buy the Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missile system.

    CNA KT/MA/AP/1997

    [06] House approves defence budget

    Nicosia, Feb 13 (CNA) -- The plenary of the House of Representatives unanimously approved here Thursday the island's defence budget for 1997, totalling 203 million Cyprus pounds (406 million US dollars), paving the way for the purchase of the controversial Russian S-300 anti-missile system.

    The budget includes a deposit for the missiles and the purchase of other equipment which will be received within 1997, as well as paying off debts.

    Before the vote, opposition AKEL left-wing party tabled a proposal to reduce the defence budget by 35 million pounds (70 million US dollars). However the proposal was rejected by the remaining four parties.

    AKEL General Secretary Demetris Christofias and the President of the United Democrats, George Vassiliou, in their speeches said the defence programme was "beyond the Cypriot economy."

    Defending the island's arms plan, the ruling Democratic Rally party's parliamentary spokesman, Nicos Anastasiades, criticised the opposition for trying to minimise the government's achievements in the defence field.

    Democratic Party deputy, Nicos Moushioutas, called for further coordination between the House Defence Committee, the government and the National Council.

    The president of the House Defence Committee, Socialist EDEK deputy, Takis Hadjidemetriou, called for an end to statements concerning the National Guard's armament programme.

    Today's decision paves the way for the final act in the purchase of the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile system.

    The government is now expected to proceed with the deposit for the anti- aircraft missiles, expected to be deployed on the island after 16 months.

    The proposed purchase of the S-300 system has caused the reaction of Turkey and other governments.

    However, the government has repeatedly stressed that it is buying the missiles for purely defensive purposes.

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

    CNA EC/AP/1997

    [07] Bicommunal exhibition opens

    Nicosia, Feb 13 (CNA) -- A joint exhibition of works by Greek and Turkish Cypriot artists opened in Nicosia tonight, in a bid to promote peace and brotherhood between the two communities on the island.

    Opening the exhibition, UN resident Representative Gustave Feissel stressed that such bicommunal events "make an important contribution towards creating an atmosphere conducive for a settlement of the Cyprus problem."

    Political party leaders, ambassadors, MPs and other officials attended the opening ceremony of the exhibition, on until February 20, described as the largest bicommunal exhibition ever.

    However, the Greek Cypriot artists participating waited in vain for their Turkish Cypriot colleagues, as the puppet regime in the Turkish- occupied areas did not allow them to cross to the government-controlled free areas of the Republic.

    Feissel, who revealed he is an amateur photographer, expressed regret that the Turkish Cypriots were unable to attend, noting this "underlines how much more must be done to overcome mistrust" between the two communities on the island.

    He added that both the UN and diplomatic missions in Cyprus fully support such events as they help promote a joint future for both communities, as well as respect for otherness and their different backgrounds.

    The UN envoy stressed the current situation in Cyprus "is not an option" and noted genuine mutual confidence from both sides is required. He underlined this goal is not limited to the political leaders, but should involve each and every Greek or Turkish Cypriot and should be the message in everyday life.

    Some 30 Greek and Turkish Cypriots are participating in the exhibition of paintings, sculptures, engravings and photographs, organised by the Peace Centre, the Bicommunal Citizens' Group and the Bicommunal Educators' Group, at the Nicosia Municipality Cultural Centre, at the Famagusta Gate.

    CNA MA/AP/1997

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