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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 07-05-05

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos led mourners Saturday at the funeral of the late Defence Minister Nikos Symeonides, who died Thursday. He was 68.

    The church service was officiated by the primate of the church of Cyprus Archbishop Chrysostomos II, in the presence of the members of the Council of Ministers, the President of the House of Representatives Demetris Christofias, Greek Deputy Defence Minister Vasilis Mihaloliakos, members of Parliament, foreign dignitaries, family members and scores of people.

    Officials, family, friends and associates paid their last respects to the late minister as they filed past his coffin, draped with the Cypriot and the Greek flags.

    A guard of honour stood in silence outside the church of Saint Andrew, in Aglandjia suburb, of the capital Nicosia, where officials, friends and family gathered for the funeral service.

    In his oration, Justice and Public Order Minister Sofocles Sofocleous described the late minister as a fair man, simple and caring, low key, a man who avoided publicity but with a sense of humour, a person who had three weaknesses: the love for his wife, his native Famagusta town and Cyprus.

    And he recalled Symenonides words at a Cabinet meeting to him: Sofocles, I did not come here to stay, but as long as I am here, I shall offer all I can.

    They called you a monster of knowledge and they were right. You devoured every book you laid your eyes on and could discuss any topic with ease and knowledge, Sofocleous said as he bid the last farewell to Symeonides.

    On his brief spell as Defence Minister, he had this to say: you always insisted on equal treatment of members of the armed forces and cared in particular about the living conditions of the men serving in the National Guard and the improvement of the military installations.

    Sofocleous said the late minister never forgot his native Famagusta, under Turkish occupation since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded Cyprus, nor did he abandoned his friends during his long service in the public domain, as he rose into the higher ranks of the civil service.

    You kept your promises and met your obligations, always with a smile and you were good company for those around you, it is very hard to believe that you are gone. We will always remember you, the Justice minister concluded.

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