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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 10-02-02

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou has said that Monday`s visit to Cyprus by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon was successful and gave impetus to efforts to reach a solution of the Cyprus problem.

    He noted that the visit reaffirmed that the UN`s role was not that of a mediator or arbitrator, but that of a supporter of efforts, and that the process for a settlement belongs to the Cypriots, with the international community providing its support.

    Regarding the meeting Ban Ki Moon had with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat at the so-called president`s office in the Turkish occupied areas of the Republic, Stephanou said President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias ``acted decisively and with calm, so that the trap set up for the Secretary General to visit the so-called presidential office of Mr. Talat boomeranged on the side that had set it.``

    ``The President of the Republic, acting as the head of state, warmly welcomed the Secretary General and made sure that the visit sent messages of respect towards the Republic of Cyprus,`` he added.

    Stephanou said remarks by the UN chief`s Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer were based on UN resolutions that provide for the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus only, and point out the illegality of the unilateral declaration of independence of the Turkish Cypriot regime in the Cyprus northern Turkish occupied areas.

    The Spokesman also said that President Christofias had the opportunity to point out to Ban Ki Moon that Turkey holds the key for a settlement, and that the meetings reaffirmed respect to UN resolutions on Cyprus, which should guide all efforts for a solution.

    Referring to the joint statement of the leaders of the two communities, Stephanou said it was balanced. He noted that it sent messages of progress on the chapter of governance and underlined the necessity to discuss the other aspects of the Cyprus problem, in which there are differences.

    He added that the statement also points out the need to step up efforts for more convergences, in order to pave the way for a solution, and highlights the principle that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.

    Stephanou assured that the Greek Cypriot side would continue the hard work for a solution, based on UN resolutions, European and international law, and the high level agreements of 1977 and 1979, adding that the solution should terminate the Turkish occupation and reunify the island and its people, in the framework of a bizonal bicommunal federation.

    Asked why the joint statement did not make any reference to a bizonal bicommunal federation, the Spokesman said the basis of a solution had already been agreed on.

    Replying to other questions, Stephanou said that progress has been made through the two rounds of intensive negotiations in January between the leaders of the two communities.

    He added that President Christofias would be briefing the political parties in detail on the course of the negotiations, and that a meeting of the National Council, the top advisory body to the President on the question of Cyprus comprising parliamentary parties, would be announced soon.

    Stephanou said both President Christofias and Talat have assured publicly that they are ready to continue the negotiations.


    The government believes that attempts by the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime, in occupied Cyprus, to create impressions in favour of the self-styled entity have backfired. Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou has said that efforts by the Turkish Cypriot side to create impressions with regard to the presence of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the so-called presidential palace in Turkish occupied Nicosia have proved to be a boomerang.

    Stephanou said that some people had tried to create impressions, by welcoming the UN SG to the so-called presidential palace. These turned out to be a boomerang and we are not the only ones who say so, but many in the Turkish Cypriot community say that too, he added. Responding to questions, Stephanou said that Turkish Cypriot press reports note that this move, by the UN chief, led to a public statement by the UN that the international organisation recognises only the Republic of Cyprus and that Mehmet Ali Talat is simply the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community.

    Bans meeting with Talat on Monday at the latters presidential palace in occupied Nicosia sparked a wave of protests by the Greek Cypriot political leadership, with the government expressing discontent and party leaders boycotting a reception hosted in Bans honour. The move by the SG was seen as an attempt by Talat to gain recognition of his status as self-styled president of the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime. Bans special adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer rectified the situation, stressing that the UN recognise the Republic of Cyprus.


    A six member delegation from the organisation Volunteer Doctors Cyprus departs on Wednesday for Haiti to provide medical care and pharmaceutical aid to the people affected by last months catastrophic earthquake. The mission of the Volunteer Doctors - Cyprus comprises doctors and nursing staff, Dr. Marios Theodorou, Dr. Olga Sophocleous, Nicolas Ioannou, Constantina Rousia, Nicolas Papachrisostomou and CNA photo reporter Katia Christodoulou.

    The aim of the mission is to offer immediate medical assistance and to investigate the possibility of granting assistance on a long-term basis, by creating infrastructure such as a medical centre, a boarding house for orphan children and food aid programmes or help in any other way possible, a statement by the organisation has said.

    The mission, which departs on Wednesday morning to Haiti via Paris and the Dominican Republic, will remain in the country for ten days and is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The January 12 earthquake killed up to 200,000 people in Haiti and devastated the already impoverished nation.


    Educational reforms in Cyprus and Greece was the focus of a meeting between the Cypriot Minister of Education and Culture Andreas Demetriou and the Minister for Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs of Greece Anna Diamantopoulou. Speaking at a joint press conference, Demetriou said that they had a very productive discussion on various issues, noting that the focus of the discussion was the educational reforms underway in both countries.

    He also said that the Greek Minister was briefed on the various aspects of the reforms in Cyprus with special emphasis on the analytical programmes. Demetriou said that the Chairman of the Committee on the modernization of the analytical programs, George Tsiakalos, briefed the Greek Minister on where Cyprus stands regarding this issue, adding that it is known that the analytical programmes have already been delivered and we are in the final stages of writing the single text for all lessons.

    On her part, Diamantopoulou said that her visit is both symbolic and substantive, noting that Greece and Cyprus share a close cooperation in educational matters due to the fact that both countries are linked by language and culture which are the basic pillars of education. She noted that the changes and reforms introduced by the Cypriot Minister are in line with modern thinking, adding that all European countries have either implemented such reforms or are in the process of doing so.

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