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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 07-07-01

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    British MP for Chipping Barnet, Theresa Villiers, has written to new Foreign Secretary David Miliband to protest about Joan Ryans appointment as Prime Minister Gordon Browns advisor on Cyprus, noting in statements that she was ``shocked to learn of this appointment,`` which is ``a slap in the face for the Cypriot community.``

    ``If the community thought that Tony Blairs resignation would mean that the Labour government started to see sense again on Cyprus, this appointment shows there is no hope of that. Gordon Brown is clearly going to continue Mr. Blairs discredited approach on Cyprus which has completely let down all those who fled their homes during the 1974 invasion,`` she pointed out.

    Villiers noted that ``Joan Ryan has not taken a balanced or fair approach on Cyprus issues and I am deeply worried about the prospect of her deciding what the British governments approach on this issue should be.``

    ``I oppose this appointment and I have appealed to David Miliband to meet me and representatives of the Cypriot community so that he can hear at first hand why Gordon Browns decision has caused such anger and outrage in his first three days at Number 10,`` she added.

    In her letter to Miliband, Villiers explains that she represents a large British Cypriot community, noting that many of her constituents are deeply concerned about the appointment of Joan Ryan as the Prime Ministers advisor on Cyprus.

    ``They believe that Ms Ryan has not taken a balanced or fair approach on matters relating to Cyprus. I have to say I sympathise with their point of view,`` she notes.


    The huge fire raging since Friday on Troodos mountain range is now under control, having destroyed vast areas of forest and reduced properties to ashes. People who were evacuated from the area have begun returning to their homes. Meanwhile, as forecast by the Meteorological Service, it has begun to rain in the area.

    President Tassos Papadopoulos said the blaze was a "tragedy" and assured that the government intended to take stock of the damage and assist those who bore the brunt of the destruction.

    Director of the Forestry Department Aristos Ioannou told CNA that the fire was finally under control and that all services would remain in the area for a few more hours.

    Ioannou pointed out that the fire could rekindle even after a fortnight and will thus be guarded for at least two weeks.

    Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment Photis Photiou, who visited the Saittas Crisis Management Centre and the villages of Amiantos and Pelendri, said the government would provide assistance to repair the damages and that the Forestry Department would immediately begin reforestation works.

    He said figures showed the devastation probably extended over an area of ten square kilometres.

    Minister of the Interior Neoclis Sylikiotis said "we will record the damage" and proceed with reforestation and assistance to those who suffered damages.

    Officials from the Civil Defence Nicosia District Office told CNA that the residents who were forced to abandon their homes had returned, after spending the night in a hotel in Agros village.

    Camping sites and monasteries were also evacuated.

    In order to assist in efforts to put out the fire, an Italian fire-fighting plane and two helicopters, two Lebanese army helicopters and an Israeli airplane arrived on Friday night and Saturday morning.

    The Italian aircraft have been released since Greece needs them, while the Lebanese and Israeli aircraft will remain in Cyprus.

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