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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 10-02-11

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Archbishop of Karelia and All Finland Leon has described the destruction of Cyprus religious and cultural heritage in the islands northern Turkish occupied areas as inhumane and regrettable.

    He also expressed hope that Europe must understand that it is impossible to have part of its European territory under occupation.

    Speaking during a press conference, Leon, who is paying an official visit here at the invitation of Archbishop Chrysostomos II, said that he is well aware of the problem of the destruction of Cyprus heritage in the occupied areas, noting that it is inconceivable that this is happening.

    ``We know that they have destroyed archaeological buildings, that they have stolen works of art, sold some of them abroad, icons or mosaics have somehow come back to the Church of Cyprus,`` he said.

    Of course such destruction is regrettable and inhumane, he added.

    Asked about his position as regards the Cyprus problem, the Archbishop said that when talking about the problem one must also discuss its solution. If the solution was easy, they would have found it, he added, noting that the problem exists for 36 years and no one can say for how many more years it will exist.

    He said that talks on this issue must continue and expressed hope that the EU will be able to understand the seriousness of this problem and Europe as a family will be able to understand that it is impossible part of it to be occupied.

    The Archbishop noted that there needs to be hope, adding that ``we need to work on it``, to have talks on the matter and to take into account the different views.

    He expressed hope that Cyprus and Turkey will not be left alone and will receive the international help needed.

    Archbishop Leon expressed satisfaction with his visit to Cyprus and thanked Archbishop Chrysostomos II, who invited him to the island after his official visit to Finland.

    He said that during his contacts on the island, he discussed the Cyprus issue and issues regarding the Orthodox Church worldwide and locally.

    He said he greatly appreciates the good relationship between the Finnish and the Cypriot Churches. He added that the autonomous Finnish Orthodox Church is growing and participates in all religious conferences. The Archbishop said that the Finnish Orthodox Church has very good relations with the Finnish state, the government and the Parliament.

    Referring to the missionary task of the Finnish Orthodox Church, he said that this is mainly taking place in Africa and generally to places where disasters occur, as in Haiti recently.


    The European Parliament has called on Turkey to immediately withdraw its occupation forces from Cyprus and facilitate the ongoing peace talks on a political settlement in Cyprus, as a necessary precondition for its EU accession course.

    The European Parliament adopted Wednesday a resolution on Turkeys Progress Report by show of hands. The resolution, which was based on a report drafted by Dutch MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijten (EPP, NL), says that the Turkish Government should contribute ``in concrete terms`` to the comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue, based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation.


    Cypriot tennis player Marcos Baghdatis has qualified for the second round of the Rotterdam tennis tournament in the Netherlands, after a victory over American James Blake with 2-0 sets (6-4,6-2).

    This is the first game between the two tennis players.

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