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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-12-30

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [03] President Wishes for 2009


    The Council of Ministers has decided to donate financial aid amounting to 150,000 euro for the Gaza Strip, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou announced after a Cabinet meeting, reiterating his call for an end to Israeli attacks which cause hundreds of victims and make the prospect of peace even more distant.

    The Foreign Ministry continues to monitor developments after a boat, carrying humanitarian and medical aid, with volunteers from Volunteer Doctors Cyprus organization, was hit by the Israeli navy, he said.

    Three Cypriots, including a member of Parliament, on board the vessel Dignity are scheduled to return home tonight by air, via Beirut.

    We regret that a ship with humanitarian aide was not permitted to reach its destination to help, to the extent possible, deal with the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, he added.

    The Spokesman said that the damage caused to the boat was such that it did not allow the vessel to sail back to Cyprus, from where it started its journey on Monday afternoon.

    The humanitarian crisis in the area, he pointed out, is not a recent development but is evident since 2007 when Gaza was under blockade.

    Today this crisis is more intense because of Israeli attacks in the area, he said.

    The government, he added, joins its voice with others who demand an end to the Israeli attacks in Gaza, which distances the prospect of peace in the area and hampers efforts in the peace process.

    We express out support to the Palestinian Authority and to efforts to end the Inter-Palestinian crisis in order to press on with the peace process, to bring about peace in this region as we are all watching with grave concern recent developments, Stephanou said.


    Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs Markos Kyprianou has expressed regret that the boat źDignity╗, carrying a team of volunteers, has not been permitted to approach Gaza in order to deliver urgent humanitarian and medical aid to the Palestinian population. An official press release said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is closely monitoring the situation and is taking all necessary steps to ensure the safety of those on board.

    To this end, the Ministry is in contact with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Israel and Lebanon and other authorities concerned, as well as with members of the team of volunteers, it added.

    The boat set sail on Monday from Larnaca. It was intercepted Tuesday morning by Israeli navy boats in international waters, according to activists on board.

    [03] President Wishes for 2009

    Cyprus President Demetris Christofias has extended sincere wishes for the new year, saying he wants to see the country liberated, he hopes for rain and wishes good health to everybody. In brief remarks during celebrations at the Presidential Palace, to usher in the New Year, the President said: I wish you all good health, I wish that we have lots of rain and above all I want to see Cyprus free of Turkish troops.

    Christofias made the wish as four months of talks with the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Mehmet Ali Talat come to a close with the years end. The President, representing the Greek Cypriot community, has been engaged in talks with Talat since September this year to find a negotiated settlement that will reunite Cyprus, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion. Talks are set to resume in the new year, on January 5, to continue discussions towards a mutually agreed solution.

    The President also wished for rain, as Cyprus is facing one of the most serious droughts the country has known, which led to water cuts.


    The Academy of Athens has awarded a prestigious prize to archaeologist Dr. Jacqueline Karageorghis for her recent book on Kypris the Aphrodite of Cyprus (Greek edition).

    According to a press release, the award ceremony took place on the 30th of December in the presence of the President of the Hellenic Republic. Dr. Karageorghis has spent a lifetime in the study of the cult of the Great Goddess of Cyprus, about which she has written several books and articles.

    The recent book, which covers a period from the dawn of prehistory to the end of Antiquity, was published with a grant from the Leventis Foundation and the Cyprus Tourist Organization in 2007; it examines the cult places of the Goddess throughout Cyprus, based on the archaeological record and literary sources.

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