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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 07-10-30

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The Cyprus government believes that there is an underlying intention by certain states to help the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime, in Turkish occupied Cyprus, upgrade its status.

    Government Spokesman Vasilis Palmas has said that this tendency emerged after the people of Cyprus in their overwhelming majority rejected in April 2004 a UN-proposed solution plan, noting however that the government has to exhaust all available means to safeguard the interests of the country.

    His comments come in the wake of a British-Turkish strategic cooperation agreement to facilitate the Turkish Cypriot regime assume a more active role and status in the international community. The UN has described the regime as ``legally invalid`` and has called on all states not to recognise it and not to facilitate it in any way.

    Responding to questions, he said the government has cancelled a meeting in Cyprus, due to have taken place later this week as part of a structured dialogue with Britain, in response to London`s decision to sign the memorandum of strategic cooperation with Ankara.

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs believes that after this agreement, the climate is not conducive to discussion of issues, even other matters than the question of Cyprus, as part of the structured dialogue,`` Palmas pointed out, noting that this is a very delicate issue and the government is handling it with discretion.

    The UK/Cyprus Forum was due to take place in Paphos on November 3, to deal with regional and EU issues, immigration, criminality as well as the Cyprus problem and bilateral concerns.

    Asked about government moves in response to the Turkish-British accord, the Spokesman said that decisions have already been taken on several levels and these will be made public once they have been implemented.

    ``The fact is that after the rejection of the Annan Plan in 2004 by the Cyprus people and the President, a negative climate emerged in certain countries. It is also a fact that there have been moves to reward the Turkish Cypriots for having accepted the UN plan, he said, adding that the government has never said that the way ahead was going to be ``a bed of roses``.

    Referring to the British stance, Palmas said that through the years, the stance, the attitude and the political approach of Britain towards Cyprus, especially regarding the Cyprus issue, has been rather negative.``

    ``Now, with this agreement, the difference lies in the fact that this is a thinly-veiled British approach that reveals their unbalanced stance in relation to Cyprus and Turkey," Palmas said.


    Minister of Foreign Affairs Erato Kozakou Markoullis is in Serbia on an official visit.

    Speaking at Larnaca airport, before departure, Markoullis said this is the first visit by a Cypriot Foreign Minister since 2001 so the two countries attach great importance to it.

    She added that during the visit she will be received by the Serbian President Boris Tadic, Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and House President Oliver Dulic and will hold meetings with her counterpart Vuk Jeremic.

    It is an important moment in the relations between Cyprus and Serbia, the Foreign Minister said, adding that her agenda includes bilateral issues, Serbias European prospect, the Cyprus issue and the Middle East.


    The mountain of Troodos in Cyprus is one of ten European rural tourist destinations awarded with the European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN) prize. European Commission Vice President Gunter Verheugen awarded the ``European Destinations of Excellence`` (EDEN) to the ten best emerging rural destinations, at the European Annual Tourism Forum in Portugal on 26th of October.

    The aim of EDEN is twofold: to draw attention to the value, diversity and shared characteristics of European tourist destinations and to promote destinations where commercial success goes hand in hand with social, cultural and environmental sustainability. It also creates awareness of Europes tourist diversity and quality, besides promoting Europe as the foremost tourism destination in the world.

    A Commission press release referring to the ten winning destinations of excellence in 2007 has described Troodos as A relaxing break away from cosmopolitan coastal resorts, noting that Troodos has five distinct regions, grouped around Mount Olympus. The area offers an abundance of things to do and see: walking or cycling through forest nature trails, attending local village festivals, experiencing the local traditional cuisine and discovering the cultural treasures of UNESCO World Heritage sites are among the main pursuits, it adds.

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