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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 07-08-28

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The intense verbal interference of the Turkish army in political developments in the country concern Cyprus as well as the European Union, said Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou Marcoullis.

    In statements after returning to Cyprus from Bled, Slovenia, where she participated in the conference entitled ``EU 2002: Enlargement and Completion``, organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, Marcoullis repeated that irrespective of the election procedures in Turkey, the Cyprus problem remains in the hands of the Turkish army.

    She told reporters that Cyprus was closely monitoring the electoral procedure in Turkey to see whether it would evolve smoothly.

    We are very concerned, just as the EU is concerned too, by the strong verbal tone of the armys intervention, she said, adding that whatever elections take place in Turkey, be that of the government, the National Assembly or the President, these cannot bring changes as far as Turkeys stance on the Cyprus problem is concerned.

    I repeat that the Cyprus issue, unfortunately, remains in the hands of the Turkish army, said Marcoullis, adding that this view is based on the realities and the attitude of the Turkish army.

    Regarding Turkey`s threats to Cyprus` intention to exploit possible hydrocarbon reserves in its exclusive economic zone, Marcoullis said that these are surely taken into account.

    We are closely monitoring developments and we are informing our partners, said Marcoullis, adding that during her contacts in Slovenia, she put forward all Turkish threats as well as all other issues and our serious concerns and asked for our EU partners solidarity.

    Marcoullis also described her participation in the Bled conference as very interesting and extremely useful; reminding that Slovenia is the first country among the new EU states which will take over in January 2008 the EU presidency. The conference was organised by the Slovenian Foreign Ministry in preparation for the assumption of the six-month rotating EU presidency.

    During the conference, Marcoullis held a number of bilateral meetings with her counterparts from Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Albania, Montenegro and Hungary, as well as high ranking EU officials, the SG of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and former Finnish President and currently UN special envoy for Kosovo Martti Ahtisaari.


    As new fire fronts broke out in Greece, Greek, Cypriot and other firefighters and volunteers from abroad battled for the fifth day to save people, homes, farms and forests in the inferno that has killed 63 people and left thousands homeless.

    According to Greek Fire Department Spokesman Nicos Diamantis, eight large fire fronts are still posing the greatest danger.

    In Seta, Evia, apart from the local firefighters, 19 people and two fire trucks from Hungary are assisting the efforts to control the blaze, as well as 25 Cypriots and five fire trucks from Cyprus and seven more volunteers, while at Krestena 52 volunteers from Israel are battling the fires.

    A total of 95 firefighters have been injured, seven of them have suffered serious burns, fractures and face respiratory problems.

    According to the Greek Fire Department, Albania will send two fire trucks and 10 firefighters; Spain will dispatch two more planes while a Cypriot businessman has offered 4,680 breathing masks.

    Meanwhile, the Cypriot firemen and volunteers were praised by the Greek authorities for saving villages as they battled with their Greek colleagues to put the raging fires under control.

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