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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-03-19

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Government appointments
  • [02] Illegal Immigrants - Consultations
  • [03] President Clerides - New ministers
  • [04] Cyprus - UN - Population transfer - Settlers

  • 0815:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Government appointments

    Nicosia, Mar 19 (CNA) -- Three appointments to government posts are expected to be announced officially later today.

    Leader of the ruling rightwing Democratic Rally party (DISY) Nicos Anastasiades has told a local radio station that current Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou will move to the Interior Ministry, following the resignation of Dinos Michaelides from the post he has held for years.

    Takis Clerides will take over at the Finance Ministry and veteran journalist Costas Serezis, who has been working in Athens for years, will be the new government spokesman.

    Earlier this week, Government Spokesman Christos Stylianides, announced his resignation because of his strong disagreement with a cabinet decision absolving the Interior Minister of corruption allegations.

    Two days later, the Interior Minister handed in his resignation to the President.

    Both men have stayed on until their replacements take over.

    CNA MM/GP/1999

    [02] Illegal Immigrants - Consultations

    Nicosia, Mar 19 (CNA) -- Officials from Cyprus' Foreign Ministry and the Lebanese authorities were in consultations regarding the future of 89 illegal immigrants, who arrived in Cyprus late last night.

    "The matter is in the hands of the Foreign Ministry now," a police spokesman told CNA today.

    Most of these people come from Iraq, others from Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Somalia and Sierra Leone. Thirty-five of them are women and children and all of them arrived at Larnaca port, on the south coast, from Tripoli, Lebanon, the spokesman added.

    Attempts by the charge d'affaires of the Lebanese embassy in Nicosia Halil El Hambre, who visited the immigrants last night, to persuade them to return to Lebanon did not yield any results.

    He said consultations will continue with the Cypriot and Lebanese authorities to solve this problem.

    At present they are on board the cruise liner "Royal Prince", he said and the immigrants were given food and blankets.

    Police are guarding the boat and the press have no access to it. Senior police officers are meeting this morning to discuss the issue and see how best to handle it.

    None of them had any travel documents or passport with them. This is not the first time a boatload of people end up on Cyprus' shores, seeking employment or a gateway to other destinations.

    Cyprus and Lebanon have been engaged in talks to try and iron out problems of this nature.

    CNA MM/GP/1999

    [03] President Clerides - New ministers

    Nicosia, Mar 19 (CNA) -- Two new ministers, at the Ministries of Interior and Finance, were sworn in here today at a special ceremony in the presence of President Glafcos Clerides.

    Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou moves to the Ministry of Interior to succeed Dinos Michaelides, who had resigned.

    Takis Clerides, a chartered accountant and business consultant, takes over the Ministry of Finance.

    Veteran journalist Costas Serezis has taken the post of the Government Spokesman, succeeding Christos Stylianides, who had resigned. More later

    CNA MM/GP/1999

    [04] Cyprus - UN - Population transfer - Settlers

    Nicosia, Mar 19 (CNA) -- The Fourth Geneva Convention and the statute of the International Criminal Court are unequivocal in holding that compulsory population transfers constitute international crimes.

    This view is expressed by the Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the UN Sotos Zackheos in a letter to the UN Secretary-General, which has circulated as a document of the General Assembly and the Security Council.

    The issue of compulsory population transfer and the implantation of settlers "is a matter of serious concern to the international community and to Cyprus in particular", Zackheos said.

    As a result of the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island, some 200 thousand Greek Cypriots were forced to leave their homes in the occupied northern part of Cyprus.

    Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has recently threatened to settle the occupied eastern town of Varoshia (Famagusta) contrary to UN resolution 550 of 1984 calling for the return of its lawful inhabitants under UN administration.

    "Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and articles 5 and 7 of the statute of the International Criminal Court adopted in Rome on 17 July 1998 are unequivocal in holding that compulsory population transfers constitute not only internationally wrongful acts, but also international crimes", he pointed out.

    Zackheos referred also to the recent decision 1998/292 of the Economic and Social Council on freedom of movement and population transfer, which dealt with the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and population transfer.

    Articles 7 and 10 of the draft declaration on population transfer and the implantation of settlers appended to the said report reiterate that "the fundamental rule of international law that violations of jus cogens cannot be legalised by international agreement", he noted.

    The two articles stress also that "the international community as a whole and individual states in themselves are, inter alia, under an obligation not to recognise as legal the situation created by such illegal acts", Zackheos added.

    Referring to the situation in Cyprus, he said "the General Assembly and Security Council have taken positions upholding international legality".

    He pointed out that "the Security Council in its resolution 361 (1974) expressed its grave concern at the plight of the refugees and called for permitting those who wished to do so, to return to their homes in safety".

    Subsequently, he added, in its resolution the Security Council endorsed General Assembly resolution 3212 (XXIX) and urged its implementation as soon as possible, noting that in paragraph 5 of that resolution the Assembly considered that "all the refugees should return to their homes in safety".

    In his letter to the UN Secretary-General, Zackheos noted that the question "of the right of return of displaced persons and their continuing right to their homes and properties in accordance with international law and human right norms as well as the occupation of such properties by Turkish settlers and their repatriation to Turkey, were raised in discussions on the set of ideas with the then Secretary General in October 1992".

    As indicated in paragraph 37 of the report of the Secretary-General on his good offices mission in Cyprus dated 19 November 1992, "the government of Cyprus then suggested that any basic legal issues be referred to the International Court of Justice", he pointed out.

    Moreover, he added, in the summary of the positions of the two sides and of the UN, presented by the Secretary-General on November 1992, the UN position at pages 12 and 13 was reflected in terms of resolutions 361 (1974), 365 (1974) and 3212 (XXIX).

    These resolutions urged "the taking of appropriate measures to permit persons who wished to do so, to return to their homes in safety", he noted.

    Zackheos also stressed that the government of Cyprus remains committed "to a peaceful solution of the Cyprus problem on the basis of the UN resolutions and international law, safeguarding the interests and the human rights of all its citizens".

    More than 80.000 Turkish colonists settlers were implanted in the Turkish-occupied area of Cyprus as part of Ankara's designs to change the island's demographic character. In addition, there are 35.000 Turkish soldiers.

    Due to the unbearable conditions created by the Turkish soldiers and settlers thousands of native Turkish Cypriots have been forced to emigrate.

    The Turkish Cypriots were making 18 per cent (120.000) of the island's population before the 1974 Turkish invasion and occupation of 37 per cent of Cyprus territory.

    According to Turkish Cypriot reports only 60.000 Turkish Cypriots have remained in those areas.

    CNA GG/GP/1999
    Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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