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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 00-06-16
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Friday, 16 June 2000
 Combined efforts are used to extinguish massive firesMassive fires raging for days in all six districts of the free areas of Cyprus have caused the worst fire disaster Cyprus has experienced since the fires that broke out during the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island.
The combined efforts of the Fire Service, backed by soldiers and volunteers as well as police, plus National Guard and RAF helicopters, proved insufficient to control the many blazes and forced the government to ask for outside help. Greece responded promptly to the Cyprus government/s request, sending two fire - fighting planes and a C-130 transport aircraft carrying 50 fire experts.
Two Israeli helicopters with 20 fire fighters on board and a cargo aircraft flew in from Israel yesterday afternoon, bringing equipment to help extinguish the fires.
President Clerides overflew yesterday the area of Larnaca in a helicopter and chaired a meeting of government officials with a view to effectively deal with the fires. The President gave instructions to enlist more people to help fight the fires and pointed out that maximum effort must be made.
Replying to questions, he said the authorities are examining all possibilities with regard to the causes of the fire and pointed to the need to have fire fighting aircraft.
 Luxembourg welcomes the progress Cyprus has achieved in accession negotiationsLuxembourg/s Vice President and Foreign Minister Ms Lydie Polfer welcomed yesterday the progress Cyprus has achieved in its accession negotiations with the EU and said that her country backs Cyprus/ EU membership. Ms Polfer made the above statement at a press conference given with her Cypriot counterpart Mr Ioannis Kassoulides.
The two Ministers had earlier discussed institutional change within the EU, common foreign and security policy and tax policy, fields on which Nicosia and Luxembourg share the same views.
Mr. Kassoulides thanked Ms Polfer for the beginning of accession negotiations, which was decided at the EU Luxembourg summit in December 1997.
Mr Kassoulides briefed Luxembourg's Vice-President on the latest developments in the Cyprus problem as well as on Cyprus EU course. Prospects of accession and accession itself will serve as a catalyst towards a Cyprus solution, he added.
 Canada supports a bizonal bicommunal federation in CyprusCanada supports the UN Security Council Resolutions calling for the establishment of a bizonal, bicommunal federation in Cyprus, Parliamentary Assistant to Canada's Foreign Minister, Mr. Denis Paradis said yesterday.
Mr. Paradis, who was replying on behalf of Foreign Minister Mr. Axworthy to a question tabled in the Federal Parliament on the government/s position on Cyprus, recalled that «Canada joined with the other G-8 members at last year/s Cologne summit to invite the leaders of the two parties to comprehensive negotiations.
We have advanced a de-mining initiative to the parties and offered to provide constitutional expertise. Canada is open to provide any other assistance it can in order to help resolve this long-standing question, he said.
The G-8 has Cyprus on its agenda and will be closely monitoring developments in Geneva.
 Panama will continue to support Cyprus/ efforts for a just settlementPanama will continue to support efforts for a just Cyprus settlement, President of Panama Ms Mireya Moscoso said last Monday.
Ms Moscoso, who received on Monday 12 June the credentials of the new Cyprus Ambassador to Panama, Mr. Antonis Toumazis expressed the view that the two countries have many common points that necessitate the strengthening of their bilateral relations. She also noted that Cyprus/ EU accession will help the European Union's relations with small countries.
Thanking Ms Moscoso for Panama's continuous support to Cyprus, Mr. Toumazis conveyed to her an official invitation by President Clerides to visit the island.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/