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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-04-04

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    President Demetris Christofias returns home urgently because he wants to handle in person any possible escalation of events, following last nights provocation by the Turkish occupation army on the island, according to one of his top aides. The Presidents urgent return to the island ensures that he will be in Cyprus in person to handle any possible worsening of the situation, Presidential Commissioner George Iacovou has said.

    The Commissioners comments came in response to questions about the Presidents decision to cut short his visit to London two days earlier than scheduled, because last night the Turkish military entered the demilitarised area near the Ledra street crossing point, to and from the northern Turkish occupied part of the country. The crossing point had opened barely 12 hours earlier. The Cyprus government decided to close it Thursday evening after the Turkish military breached the terms of an agreement reached about opening the crossing point.

    After Thursdays opening ceremony at Ledra street, at the end of the day, the Turkish occupation forces violated what had been agreed. They entered the demilitarised zone of the checkpoint, the Commissioner explained. The government, he said, protested and because the Turkish military wouldnt leave, we decided to close the checkpoint as we cannot have the crossing point open, while the agreement is being violated. President Christofias was briefed about developments on arrival in London, the situation was reviewed and the President decided that he had to return to Cyprus. The Presidential Commissioner further noted that this was not the only provocation by the occupation forces.


    Cyprus has every reason to be proud of its achievements in the academia, having only recently acquired its own universities, Minister of Education and Culture Andreas Demetriou said here today. Addressing the third ministerial meeting of small European countries, in Nicosia, the Minister said the six universities on the island, three of which are state universities, have an international orientation and they can offer their experience and expertise to universities in other small states.

    He said the Nicosia meeting will provide the forum where educationalists will be able to exchange views and know-how on setting up a university and enhance cooperation on academic issues. ``I am sure that the meeting will succeed in its objective to upgrade ties among our nations and thereby improve the academic excellence of our Universities,`` he said. Cyprus, he added, can be proud of its experience in setting up third level educational establishments which have strong links with the academia abroad.

    The theme of the Nicosia meeting is ``Modernization of European Universities: Challenges for Small Countries``. Ministers and officials of higher education from small European countries such as Andorra, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro and San Marino are attending the meeting.

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