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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 96-08-12 (UPDATE)

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: "HR-Net News Distribution Manager" <dist@hri.org>


CONTENTS

  • [01] Government speaks of Turkish terrorist group - UN apathy
  • [02] Russia, China urge reduction of tension
  • [03] Emotions are still running high...

  • 1800:CYPPRESS:07

    [01] Government speaks of Turkish terrorist group - UN apathy

    Nicosia, Aug 12 (CNA) -- The government has information that terrorist groups were brought to Cyprus to stir trouble during Sunday's aborted anti-occupation rally by Cypriot and European bikers, Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides has said.

    The Minister has also expressed the view that UN peace-keepers could have tried to pull to safety a Greek Cypriot, savagely beaten to death by Turkish extremists in the UN-controlled buffer zone.

    It was only human to do so, he told the press after successive meetings here today with UN resident representative Gustave Feissel and the ambassadors of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

    ''For the first time, a terrorist group was brought to Cyprus and I told the ambassadors I met today that their arrival here should be condemned,'' he said.

    If it is not, he added, this could imply that they may return to Cyprus some other time, not necessarily during protest rallies but also on other occasions.

    ''We expect that everybody will respond accordingly,'' he said.

    Asked if the government had firm information that members of the Turkish terrorist organisation the ''Grey Wolves" were actually in Cyprus, the Minister urged the big five and the UN to ''investigate who arrived in Cyprus and who did not.''

    ''We have received information from various sources that a group of Grey Wolves were brought to Cyprus, at the request of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denkash and with the consent of the Turkish government. If they did not come, let them tell us about it,'' Michaelides added.

    He also revealed the government was informed about Turkish plans to put Turkish Cypriots in the vanguard and mingle with them members of the ''Grey Wolves'', who had taken positions on the ground and were ready to attack demonstrators.

    The Minister said he expressed the government's ''grave concern'' about Sunday's incidents and told Feissel and the five ambassadors that the murder of Tasos Isaac yesterday ''was no ordinary death during a protest rally but a horrific murder, witnessed on film which shows some people beating this young man to death.''

    The footage we have, Michaelides said, will be sent to the UN to provide them with the necessary evidence.

    He described the person who beat Isaac to death as a ''criminal'' and said Cyprus police officers and UN peace-keepers went to the scene of the crime today to examine the area and collect evidence.

    Asked to comment of the lukewarm position adopted by the UN men, Michaelides said ''it was disturbing to see somebody being murdered and next to him some other people not lifting a finger to help.

    ''I am not saying the UN men could have stopped the beating but I believe, as human beings, they should have made an effort,'' he said.

    The Minister acknowledged that UNFICYP's limited number restricts its ability to ''deal with large challenges'' and said the force is facing other problems too.

    But, he also pointed out that ''the apathy displayed by some people'' is in question and not whether the UN are in a position to tackle such incidents.

    Asked what his interlocutors said, Michaelides said ''everybody took an interest in the events, all expressed sadness at the loss of life and they all stressed that yesterday's events should stress the need for increased effort towards a Cyprus settlement.''

    Replying to questions, the Minister said nobody can claim that the presence of an estimated 7,000 bikers would have created less problems, if Sunday's anti-occupation ride was not cancelled.

    Turkish troops have been occupying 37 per cent of Cyprus territory since 1974, in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdrawal.

    CNA MM/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1920:CYPPRESS:08

    [02] Russia, China urge reduction of tension

    Nicosia, Aug 12 (CNA) -- Russia and China regret Sunday's killing of a Greek Cypriot demonstrator by Turks and called for restraint on both sides of the divide to help efforts settle the Cyprus question and avoid a worsening of the situation.

    Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides had separate meetings here today with Russia's counsellor and China's ambassador to Cyprus to make representations about yesterday's events.

    The Russian diplomat Igor Evdokimov, said Sunday's events were ''once again proof that the situation is sometimes very tense in the Green line.''

    He said ''everything should be done to reduce tension and the Russian Federation is doing its utmost as a permanent member of the UN Security Council to support the position of Cyprus.''

    He expressed sadness over the loss of life and deep condolences to the family of the young Greek Cypriot who was killed.

    ''The Russian position is to back coordinated efforts for a solution for the benefit of peace on the island and a just and lasting solution of the Cyprus problem,'' he added.

    The Chinese ambassador to Cyprus, Yin Zuojin, praised the measures the government of Cyprus had taken to avert confrontation along the buffer zone and said the cause of yesterday's tragedy was ''the 22-year-old division of the island.''

    ''We hope that both communities (Greek and Turkish Cypriots) show self-restraint and calmness to avoid any worsening of the situation in Cyprus,'' he said, speaking through an interpreter.

    Asked if China would request the UN to help arrest and bring to justice the culprits, the ambassador said he would convey the message about Sunday's events to his government and the Chinese mission at the UN.

    ''We hope the Cyprus problem will be settled through negotiations and on the basis of UN resolution as soon as possible,'' he added.

    France's ambassador to Cyprus Henry Jacolin, who met the Foreign Minister, refrained from making any comment on his talks with the Minister.

    Earlier today, the Minister had separate meetings with the British and US ambassadors here for the same purpose.

    He also saw UN Resident Representative Gustave Feissel to whom he protested about the brutal killing of 24-year-old Tasos Isaac by Turkish extremists in the UN-controlled buffer zone.

    CNA MM/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    2100:CYPPRESS:09

    [03] Emotions are still running high...

    Nicosia, Aug 12 (CNA) -- Emotions are still running high on this divided island following yesterday's killing of a Greek Cypriot demonstrator by Turks, who confronted many protesters in the UN-controlled buffer zone.

    The man, 24-year-old Athanasios (Tasos) Isaac, whose wife is expecting, was beaten to death when Turks attacked him with iron rods and wooden clubs while UN peace-keepers stood nearby in apathy.

    His funeral, scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, is sure to be turned into a gesture of frustration and indignation against the barbarity of the Turkish occupation regime in the occupied northern part of the island.

    The savage beating was the main headline in the local press, which carried numerous photographs of Greek Cypriot protesters being beaten by Turkish anti-demonstrators near Dherynia village, on the eastern coast.

    Police forensic experts carried out an autopsy earlier today at the place where Isaac was killed while tomorrow coroner Petros Vanezis arrives from London to carry out a post mortem on the body.

    Isaac's home town, Paralimni, on the eastern part of the island, has declared a 40-day mourning in his memory and has condemned the savage manner of his death.

    Reacting to yesterday's events, the local police have said the UN force did not allow them in the buffer zone, at Dherynia, to offer assistance to the man, who was filmed being beaten to death by several Turks.

    The police also notes that the UN had allowed them to enter into the buffer zone at another spot, outside the capital Nicosia, to restrain Greek Cypriot demonstrators.

    Six demonstrators, injured in yesterday's clashes, are still in hospital receiving medical treatment. The remaining 35 injured persons received first aid treatment and were discharged from hospital.

    Reacting to media criticism about the government's belated warning to halt the anti-occupation ride, Acting Government Spokesman Spyros Arotis said the government received information early Sunday morning that Turkish extremists had taken up their positions to entice motorcyclists and justify the intervention of Turkish occupation troops in the buffer zone.

    ''Unfortunately, the Turkish occupation forces implemented their designs and displayed barbarity,'' Arotis said.

    It is obvious, he added, that had the ride gone ahead, there would have been many more victims.

    Political party leaders expressed abhorrence at the savage killing of the young man.

    Ruling Democratic Rally party Yiannakis Matsis said people felt very indignant about the continuing occupation but stressed the ride had to be called off.

    Opposition leader Demetris Christofias, of the leftwing AKEL party, said the shape of the anti-occupation struggle should be reconsidered.

    Democratic party General Secretary Stathis Kittis noted the UN should lay blame on the barbarians who killed in cold blood the Greek Cypriot demonstrator.

    EDEK leader Vassos Lyssarides said the situation was left in the hands of various groups to do whatever it wished.

    George Vassiliou, leader of the Free Democrats, said political responsibilities should be sought since the ride was cancelled at the eleventh hour.

    Yesterday's murder was front-page material in the Turkish Cypriot press which said Turkish ultra-nationalists lynched Isaac and said so-called Turkish Cypriot police had shown ''tolerance'' before the acts by groups of fanatics who used objects normally applied in the battlefield.

    CNA MM/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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