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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-05-15

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>


CONTENTS

  • [01] No information about US-Israeli-Turkish manoeuvres
  • [02] Parliament urged to adopt gay bill
  • [03] Government sees bicommunal concert as hope for the future
  • [04] Cyprus will open embassies in Lisbon and Ireland
  • [05] No details on Prendergast - President Clerides meeting

  • 1925:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] No information about US-Israeli-Turkish manoeuvres

    Nicosia, May 15 (CNA) -- The Cyprus government has no information whether joint US-Israeli-Turkish naval manoeuvres would finally take place in Eastern Mediterranean, the island's Defence Minister Costas Eliades told the press here today.

    At the same time he indicated that such military exercises should be better avoided since they do not create the necessary climate for achieving a common ground, eagerly sought to pave the way for the start of direct negotiations for the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Press reports suggested earlier this month that joint naval exercises with the participation of the United States, Israel and Turkey were to take place in June.

    The Cyprus government had called on the US and Israel to intervene towards Turkey to avoid Turkish military flights through Cyprus' airspace and Nicosia Flight Information Region (FIR).

    The Cyprus government has repeatedly protested to the United Nations against violations of the island's airspace and the Nicosia FIR by Turkish fighters.

    Press reports suggested the naval exercises were cancelled, in response to a decision by Cyprus and Greece to suspend flights of Greek military planes over the island, since efforts for direct negotiations were underway.

    Turkish Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan was quoted Tuesday as saying that the controversial Turkish-Israeli naval manoeuvres with the participation of the US were effectively cancelled for this year.

    But Turkey's powerful military defied Erbakan's attempt to cancel the planned exercises.

    Turkey's Defence Minister Turhan Tayan was quoted Wednesday by the French News Agency (AFP) as saying "the planning phase of the joint exercises is continuing... At this point comments suggesting that the manoeuvres have been postponed may lead to misunderstandings.

    "In addition, legally, the Prime Minister, is not in a position to ratify or delay such issues, already agreed by state officials", Tayan added.

    In Nicosia, Cyprus Defence Minister Costas Eliades, when asked before a cabinet meeting today, he said "the government has no information whether or not such an exercise will be carried out."

    He pointed out that "it would be beneficial if such military exercises, like the joint Turkish-Israeli-US exercises, were avoided, because they create a climate which is not conducive to the start of direct negotiations, (for a solution to the Cyprus problem)."

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

    CNA MA/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    2000:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] Parliament urged to adopt gay bill

    Nicosia, May 15 (CNA) -- Cyprus Foreign Minister, Ioannis Kasoulides, urged today the island's 56-seat House of Representatives to adopt as soon as possible a bill, decriminalising homosexuality as demonstrators strongly opposed such a move.

    Briefing the House Legal Committee, Kasoulides stressed that the existing law was contrary to the constitution of the Republic of Cyprus and warned of the political consequences if Cyprus did not abide by a relevant European Court decision.

    "We cannot ask Turkey to comply with the decisions of the Council regarding human rights' violations and at the same time we refuse to conform to such decisions," Kasoulides pointed out.

    Speaking before the Committee, Assistant Attorney General, Loukis Loukaides, did not rule out the possibility of new appeals by homosexuals against the state if Cyprus did not adopt this bill.

    A meeting of party leaders on the issue, scheduled for this afternoon, had to be postponed since the political parties represented in the House had not reached final decisions on the controversial issue.

    Meanwhile, the church-led Action Committee Against the Decriminalisation of Homosexuality staged an hour-long protest this afternoon outside the House, calling on MP's to vote against this bill.

    About 1000 people, including priests and nuns, stood outside the House holding placards against homosexuality. They believe if homosexuality is legalised it would corrode social and religious institutions in the country.

    A delegation of priests had a brief meeting with House Deputy President, Nicos Anastasiades, to whom they handed a petition calling on the government to withdraw the bill and asking the House to vote against.

    Their petition says that if MP's vote in favour of the bill, they will be encouraging homosexuality.

    Anastasiades told the delegation that the state has international obligations it must abide by, but noted that it is up to the parties and MP's to decide on how they will vote.

    Cyprus has come under pressure to scrap the 19th century law, after a European Court of Justice decision of 1993, in the case of Alecos Modinos, President of the Cyprus Homosexual's Organisation.

    Modinos took the Republic to the European Court for the violation of his right to privacy.

    The Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus, which has a strong public backing, opposes the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

    CNA MCH/MA/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    2015 CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Government sees bicommunal concert as hope for the future

    Nicosia, May 15 (CNA) -- The Cyprus government has given its blessing to an upcoming bicommunal concert, an event it hopes will carry a message of hope to the young people of Cyprus, Government Spokesman, Manolis Christofides said today.

    "We look forward to the concert with the wish that it will open a window of hope. Youth is the golden hope of all nations, something we want the youth of Cyprus to be," Christofides said this afternoon, following a meeting of the Council of Ministers.

    The UN has organised a concert for Greek and Turkish Cypriots, in a bid to build bridges between the two communities, kept apart since the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island and the subsequent occupation of 37 percent of its territory.

    Greek pop star, Sakis Rouvas, along with Turkish singing sensation, Burak Kut, will perform during Monday night's concert.

    A total of 6,000 tickets - 3000 for each side - are being distributed free of charge, for the concert taking place in a vacant football field in the buffer zone separating the free from the occupied areas of the Republic.

    Noting that the young generation is the "golden hope" for all nations, he stressed that the young people of Cyprus "have been kept apart for decades, contra natura (against nature) and their own interest".

    "Greek and Turkish Cypriots will come to the concert proud of their descent and to declare they want peace and peaceful coexistence," Christofides added.

    He congratulated both Rouvas and Kut for responding to the UN invitation, noting they will "contribute to the creation of a climate of friendship between the young people of Cyprus, through the universal language of music and song".

    "Hate is not cast aside by more hate, but rather with these kinds of events," Christofides said.

    The Spokesman said the government encourages young people to participate event and called upon political parties to use this opportunity to "send the message that the youth of Cyprus can work and live together peacefully."

    He expressed the hope that "other similar events will follow, bringing the people of Cyprus to live and create together."

    Commenting on planned "counter-events", by certain organisations opposing the concert, Christofides said "they are free to do so, but being negative is wrong, particularly in this case which provides a good opportunity for the young people of Cyprus to get together."

    "We expect that everyone will act responsibly and will rightly judge the true interest of this place, which does not permit these kinds of demonstrations," he added.

    Christofides noted the UN is "pleased and satisfied" with the cooperation shown by the Republic's security authorities.

    The UN has said it will deploy some 400 security personnel to the concert, to guarantee the safety of all those attending.

    CNA MH/MA/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    2025:CYPPRESS:04

    [04] Cyprus will open embassies in Lisbon and Ireland

    Nicosia, May 15 (CNA) -- Cyprus will open two new embassies, one in Lisbon and another in Ireland, Government Spokesman, Manolis Christofides, has announced.

    He said the decision was taken by the Council of Ministers, during its meeting Thursday afternoon.

    Meanwhile, an official announcement said President Glafcos Clerides met today with Cyprus' ambassadors serving abroad, but does not say what was discussed.

    CNA MA/MCH/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    2045:CYPPRESS:05

    [05] No details on Prendergast - President Clerides meeting

    Nicosia, May 15 (CNA) -- Government Spokesman, Manolis Christofides, did not give away anything on today's meeting between UN Under Secretary- General for Political Affairs, Sir Kieran Prendergast, and President Glafcos Clerides.

    He hinted, however, that "there are some new details which will be announced by Prendergast himself during tomorrow's bicommunal press conference."

    The UN envoy will hold a press conference for Greek and Turkish Cypriot journalists tomorrow, at the Ledra Palace hotel, in the UN controlled buffer zone.

    "All the relevant details will be announced by the Under Secretary- General himself," Christofides said following a meeting by the government's top advisory body, the National Council.

    He noted that Prendergast was meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, tonight, and if needed he will hold a second meeting with President Clerides tomorrow.

    "At this moment, there is nothing definite," Christofides said, adding that "as the picture clears up tomorrow when the Under Secretary-General's contacts have been completed, there will be something definite to be announced".

    Reiterating that the Greek Cypriot side has repeatedly expressed its willingness and readiness to cooperate with UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, Christofides said Annan is exercising his right to study Prendergast's report and assess all the elements before calling the two sides to direct negotiations.

    "This is logical as well as responsible," Christofides noted.

    The Spokesman reiterated that the goal is for direct negotiations to take place within the first half of this year.

    CNA MH/MA/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    CNA END
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