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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 09-12-02

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stresses that considerable progress has been achieved in the Cyprus UN peace talks.

    In his report to the Security Council, which will be issued as a document of the Council on Wednesday, Ban, who recommends to the Council to extend the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces in Cyprus mission for six months, until 15 June 2010, adds that the two sides have not yet considered in depth the role which the UN would be expected to play in support of a settlement.

    The report notes that military violations by the opposing forces during the current reporting period were at comparable levels at each other and this was attributable to a reduction in violations by the Turkish Forces, following the positive approach taken by them in recent months.

    It points out that the situation remained calm, however efforts to promote talks for military confidence building measures did not produce results. The report notes that UNFICYP remains optimistic that the measures it has proposed, such as the un-manning and/or closing of observation posts in areas where opposing troops are particularly close to one another and agreements for future de-mining activities, would help improve the situation.

    The report notes that despite a significant relaxation of movement restrictions placed on UNFICYP military personnel, the continued restriction of movement of locally employed UN personnel by the Turkish Forces/ Turkish Cypriot Security Forces remains a concern.

    Furthermore, it says the Turkish Forces have conducted regular inspections of the liaison post at Strovilia, and have repeatedly overmanned the position in violation of the military status quo in the area.

    As far as demining is concerned, the report says the procedure in the buffer zone is progressing well, with 57 of the 72 minefields cleared. A total of 14 thousand mines have been destroyed and more than seven square kilometers of land cleared of mines. It also refers to the incident of the death of a civilian contractor of the Mine Action Centre who was killed in a demining accident in October.

    The report notes that both communities continued to rely on UNFICYPs civilian assistance, which ranges from humanitarian and economic matters to a variety of bicommunal issues affecting the lives of Cypriots.

    It commends both sides for reaching an agreement on opening the Limnitis crossing and calls for urgent implementation of stage two of the restoration at the Ledra Street crossing.

    The establishment of economic, social, cultural, sporting or similar ties and contacts, will have a positive impact on the peace process, the report notes, adding that such contacts would nurture a sentiment of trust between the communities and help ease the sense of isolation felt by the Turkish Cypriots.

    In addition, it says that greater economic and social parity between the sides will make the eventual reunification not only easier, but also more likely. In the context of an internationally sanctioned peace process, efforts in the opposite direction can only be counterproductive.

    As regards the work of the Committee of Missing Persons, the report notes that it has enjoyed broad political and public support during the reporting period allowing the Committee to achieve further progress. By November 2009, the remains of 570 individuals had been exhumed on both sides of the buffer zone and the remains of over 350 missing persons had undergone examination at the Committees bicommunal anthropological laboratory in the UNPA. Following 1,232 cases of DNA genetic analysis carried out at the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics, the remains of 186 individuals were returned to their respective families.

    On the UN-led direct talks for a Cyprus solution, Ban Ki-moon points out that although considerable progress has been achieved in the Cyprus talks, the two sides have not yet considered in depth the role which the UN would be expected to play in support of a settlement.

    In addition, he says it is too early to be able to identify with sufficient confidence the parameters of the UN involvement in the context of a possible solution. At the same time, he adds, UNFICYP has initiated preparatory activities, based on a range of possible outcomes and scenarios, in the framework of contingency planning as requested by the Council. For the time being, such planning will continue to proceed in a flexible manner and be guided by the evolution in the talks and the views of the parties on the role they would like the UN to play in the implementation of an agreement.

    Ban underlines that it is my firm belief that UNFICYP continues to play a vital and unique role on the island, including in support of my good offices mission and recommends to the Security Council to extend the mandate of the mission for six months, until 15 June 2010.

    At the same time, in light of Security Councils calls in previous resolutions and my earlier stated intention to keep all peacekeeping operations under review, I will continually keep the operations of UNFICYP under close review, taking into account developments on the ground and the views of the parties, and will revert to the Council with recommendations as appropriate for further adjustments to UNFICYPs mandate, force levels and concept of operations as soon as warranted.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    President Christofias and the Talat began peace talks in September 2008, under UN auspices to find a mutually acceptable solution.


    Interior Minister Neoclis Sylikiotis said that the adoption by the EU of a common asylum system will help small member states, such as Cyprus, which receive strong immigration pressure.

    In statements at Larnaka International Airport, after he returned from Brussels, the Minister described the Justice and Home Affairs Council which he attended as important.

    During the Council, Sylikiotis said the Ministers approved the Stockholm Programme that deals with home affairs issues and justice and is an EU programme which will cover the next five years and it will be ratified by the EU leaders on December 10 during the EU Council.

    He also said that they examined the Common European Asylum System and how the system will progress until 2012, explaining that it is important for the EU to maintain such a system because it will help small EU states such as Cyprus because we are in the front line and are receiving strong pressure, therefore there should be a balanced allocation of the problems.


    The Elders - Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter and Lakhdar Brahimi - will visit Cyprus to open on December 9 the new Cyprus Community Media Centre (CCMC), which is supported by United Nations Development Programme - Action for Cooperation and Trust (UNDP - ACT).

    According to a press release issued here by the UNDP, the Elders will be in Cyprus to offer their support to individuals and organisations who seek to build greater trust and dialogue between the communities of the island.

    The UNDP notes that the CCMC aims to create a more diverse, vibrant and community-led media landscape through its work with civil society, adding that with the opening of the centre, which is equipped with training materials, audiovisual equipment and resources to build capacity in communications and media, the CCMC hopes to increase the ability of civil society organisations to speak for themselves, to enhance their public communications and encourage dialogue about reconciliation.


    Cypriot Paraolympic gold medalist Karolina Pelendritou closed 2009 with a great sports success, at the Swimming World Championships, taking place in Rio, Brazil, with the participation of top athletes from 36 countries.

    According to a press release, Pelendritou competed on Monday, day two of the games, in the women`s 100m breaststroke and women`s 100m individual medley.

    In the morning 100m breaststroke competition, Pelendritou managed to break the world record with 1:16:82, and in the finals she won the gold medal with a second world record with 1:14:38.

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