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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-02-03

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Cyprus has responded to a request by the United Nations in Egypt, made yesterday, to pull out of the country, via Larnaca, members of its peacekeeping force and their families.

    Andreas Zenonos, head of consular affairs at the Foreign Ministry, told CNA on Thursday that approximately 600 people are expected to be transferred today to Cyprus.

    At the same time, Egyptian citizens have started addressing themselves to Cyprus diplomatic mission in Egypt requesting to be transferred to Cyprus, where some have relatives, Zenonos added.

    It seems that Cyprus is becoming an international transit point, he noted.

    He told CNA that Cyprus embassy in Cairo is open - despite all the difficulties and the dangerous situation for its staff - between 8 am and 3 pm when the curfew begins.

    Asked if the Cairo embassy could close, if the situation escalates, Zenonos said that the instructions of the Foreign Ministry are that Cypriot diplomats will remain there.

    Should the situation take a turn for the worse and if the EU decides to evacuate the diplomatic missions of its member states, then the FM will evaluate the information and take the necessary decisions, he added.

    Cyprus has in the past served as a stepping stone for Cypriots as well as foreign nationals fleeing warring zones in the Eastern Mediterranean region. In the past few days, aircraft carrying people leaving Egypt have landed at the islands main international airport, Larnaca.


    The World Council of Churches has denounced the disruption of the Christmas mass in the Turkish occupied village of Rizokarpasso by the breakaway Turkish Cypriot regime, the WCC General Secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit notes in a letter to Cyprus Archbishop Chrysostomos II.

    Replying to a letter by the Primate of the Church of Cyprus, Tveit notes that the WCC has informed the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief Heiner Bielefeldt on the matter, urging them to ensure that human rights in Cyprus northern Turkish occupied areas are fully respected.

    We strongly denounce these actions as we believe that they constitute a flagrant violation of fundamental freedoms and human rights, mainly the right to freedom of religion and belief as guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in many other International human rights instruments, Tveit states in his letter.

    Moreover, he notes that the WCC will never cease to defend religious freedom and stand by those victims who are being persecuted for reasons of their religious beliefs.

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