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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-01-20

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The status quo in Cyprus has gone on for far too long and is in the interests of neither side on the island, US Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon has said, assuring that the US would be helpful in any possible way in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.

    Speaking after a meeting in Nicosia with President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias, Gordon noted that his presence in Cyprus was an expression of the US active involvement in the Cyprus issue and that he was on the island to get a better understanding of the perspectives of the two sides.

    ``I am here for talks with leaders on both sides. I had dinner last night with Mr. Downer, the Special Adviser to the UN. I just had an excellent meeting with President Christofias and I reiterated our strong support for the bilateral relationship between the United States and the Republic of Cyprus, and I reiterated our longstanding support for a Cyprus solution, based on a bizonal bicommunal federation,`` he said.

    Gordon added that he ``had talks on both sides of the island and will continue to reiterate what Secretary Clinton has said, which is that the status quo in Cyprus has gone on for far too long.``

    Asked if there would be a more active involvement of the US in efforts for a Cyprus settlement, Gordon said, The US is actively involved.``

    ``I consider my visit here an expression of our active involvement. We have said for a long time and continue to believe that the best approach on Cyprus is direct talks between the two sides and that has not changed. We welcome that the leaders on both sides continue to have those direct talks. My visit here was simply to get a better understanding of the perspectives of the two sides and I just want to reiterate that the US is prepared to be helpful in any way we can,`` he said.

    Replying to questions, Gordon said ``we believe the best approach is for the parties to talk directly,`` adding that ``the only way there is going to be a Cyprus settlement is if both sides agree to such a settlement.``

    ``I will be in close touch with both sides to see how we might be helpful. We do not think it is our role to try to impose a solution that would not work, but we are very committed to a solution,`` he said, adding that ``the status quo is in the interest of neither side and we will be helpful in any way we can.``

    Asked if he was planning to visit Athens and Ankara as well, Gordon said ``not on this trip, this is a trip just to Cyprus.``

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN - led Cyprus talks are underway between President of Cyprus Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu with a view to reunify the country. The UNSG has invited both leaders at a meeting in Geneva on the 26th of January to review progress made so far at the Cyprus talks and decide on the next steps.


    The European Parliament, in a motion for a resolution, condemns the interruption by force of the Christmas Mass celebrated on Christmas Day by the remaining 300 Christians in the occupied part of Cyprus by the Turkish occupation regime.

    The reference is included in a resolution on the situation of Christians in the context of freedom of religion and calls for the EUs appeal to all governments and religious authorities to promote tolerance, respect for freedom of religion and to take initiatives against hatred.

    On Christmas Day, Turkish occupation forces and the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime stopped a religious service in the Turkish-occupied village of Rizoparpasso, where Christian Orthodox Cypriots continue to live under Turkish occupation.

    The Turkish occupying forces further ordered the evacuation of the church and demanded that the priest remove his clerical clothing. The church was then sealed-off.

    In the resolution, the MEPs call on the Council, the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the European Commission to pay increased attention to the subject of freedom of religion or belief and to the situation of religious communities, including Christians, in agreements and cooperation with third countries as well as in human rights reports.


    The government is planning to provide Cyprus Airways, Cyprus national air carrier, with 20 million euro as compensation for financial losses caused due to the flight ban imposed by Turkey on Cypriot aircraft.

    The issue was discussed at the Council of Ministers, which convened under President of Cyprus Demetris Christofias.

    Speaking after the meeting, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said that Turkey does not permit Cypriot aircraft to travel over its airspace, thus placing Cyprus Airways at a disadvantage against its competitors.

    He explained that Cyprus Airways is forced to take longer journeys to avoid Turkish airspace, which adds to their costs.

    Replying to questions, he clarified that the compensation represents six years of losses.

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