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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 07-08-14

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The relatives of the 121 victims of the plane crash of 14 August 2005 do not wish vindication of the guilty party over time but want to drive those responsible to justice.

    President of the Committee of the Relatives of Victims Nicolas Yiasoumis has told reporters at Larnaca Airport, before departing for Greece for a memorial of those who lost their lives in the crash, that those responsible had to be punished before the souls of the dead could rest.

    Replying to questions, Yiasoumis said the legal aspect of bringing those responsible to justice was causing concern and that these concerns have been confirmed.

    He said there relatives did not want those responsible to be vindicated over time, adding that time has retracted testimonies.

    Yiasoumis expressed hope that ``in this case we will not pay the price of impunity through time.``

    ``Two years since that tragic day, justice has still not been given and we request justice as the least homage for the 121 murdered on that day,`` Yiasoumis said.

    The delegation that flew to Athens for the memorial comprises about 120 relatives of those killed. The relatives were joined in Greece by Greek relatives, as well as Cypriot relatives living in Athens.

    The memorial was attended by a representative of the Cypriot embassy, on behalf of the Republic of Cyprus.

    It was held at Grammatiko village, situated near the place of the crash, and then the relatives attended a trisagion (brief prayer) at the exact spot where the Helios Boeing came down.

    Meanwhile, a memorial service was held in the village of Mosphiloti in Cyprus, attended by other relatives of those killed in the crash.

    On 14 August 2005, an Helios Airways Boeing 737, on its way to Prague via Athens, crashed into the mountain side north of the Greek capital, killing all 121 passengers and crew on board, most of them Cypriot holidaymakers.

    Two commissions of inquiry into the cause of the crash have issued their reports one in Greece which was made public and one in Cyprus whose findings are with the Attorney General. No charges have been brought against anybody so far. Relatives of the victims have however filed lawsuits against Helios, Boeing and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Republic of Cyprus.


    Refugees from the town of Morphou, which along with Famagusta was seized in 1974 during the second phase of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus that began on August 14, will be handing over a resolution on August 16, deploring the continuing violation of human rights in Cyprus. The resolution will be handed over to the embassies of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, as well as the European Commission`s Representation in Nicosia.

    In a press release, the Morphou Municipality says the resolutions will be presented by Morphou Mayor Charalambos Pittas, the Municipal Council and associations of the Turkish occupied town, accompanied by refugees and members of parliament.

    The delegation will also be received by President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos and President of the House of Representatives Demetris Christofias.


    August 2007 marks the thirty third anniversary since Famagusta was captured by the Turkish troops, during their second offensive against Cyprus in the summer of 1974, which resulted in the occupation of about 37 per cent of the island. Thirty years on, the city which was considered by many as the jewel in the crown of the Cypriot tourist industry is still kept in bondage by Turkey as a ``bargaining chip`` for future negotiations towards the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    The UN holds the Turkish military responsible for Varosha, the fenced off area of Famagusta. However, in spite of repeated calls by the UN and other international fora, Turkey`s army has steadfastly refused to return the town back to its lawful inhabitants. Former Turkish President Kenan Evren has admitted that the Turkish invading army occupied Famagusta with a view to exploiting this in future negotiations as a trump card. ``When our forces did not meet any resistance they advanced. They just asked what to do and they were told to advance. Famagusta was never in our plans,`` he told CNN Turk in November 2002.

    Turkey continues to occupy Famagusta, in defiance of the UN Security Council resolutions, calling for the return of the city to its lawful inhabitants. Resolution 550 approved in 1984, ``considers attempts to settle any part of Varoshia by people or other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the UN,`` while resolution 789, approved in 1992, notes that ``that, with a view to the implementation of resolution 550, the area at present under the control of the United Nations Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus to be extended to include Varosha.``


    A total of 964,095 tourist arrivals were recorded during the first six months of 2007, according to figures released by the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO). Most arrivals were from the United Kingdom (507,199), Germany (61,894), Greece (64,192), Sweden (47,172), Norway (20,394), Denmark (13,937), France (17,714), Switzerland (15,199), the Netherlands (11,119), Belgium and Luxembourg (11,816), Ireland (12,718), Russia (54,774), Israel (10,632) and the United States (10,180).

    In January 2007 there were 51,848 tourist arrivals, in February 63,098, in March 104,316, in April 189,310, in May 273,058 and in June 282,465, according to the CTO. Furthermore, according to Cyprus Airways, the Association of Cyprus Travel Agents (ACTA) and the Pancyprian Association of Hotel Owners (PASYXE), 63,525 Cypriots traveled abroad in January 2007, 65,019 in February, 79,452 in March, 79,551 in April, 71,931 in May and 85,539 in June, with an expected rise of 5% for the whole year compared to 2006.

    Data also indicated that many Cypriots were spending their holidays on the island, with seaside and mountain hotels reaching their full capacity.

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