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UN-Cyprus agree on use of facilities, says Foreign Minister
2003-01-25 18:01:58

Nicosia, Jan 25 (CNA) -- Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has confirmed that the government and the UN have agreed on the use of facilities on the island with regard to a UN humanitarian coordination centre.

UN peace-keeping force in Cyprus (UNIFCYP) spokesman Brian Kelly also confirmed that an agreement has been reached but pointed out that this is part of contingency planning and not a signal of something happening with regard to Iraq.

''We have reached an agreement with the UN that in case of a crisis in Iraq, the UN will operate an office here to deal with humanitarian issues that may arise in the region,'' the minister told CNA today.|

He said a limited number of personnel will man the office, which is expected to be located in the southern coastal town of Larnaca.

UNMOVIC (UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspections Commission) is already operating an office in Larnaca, near the airport to facilitate travel arrangements for UN weapons inspectors.

UN spokesman Kelly told CNA that about 70 UN officers could be relocated to Cyprus from Iraq as key humanitarian agents.

Kelly referred to Cyprus' proximity to Iraq, good communications on the island and airport facilities as advantages for the UN operation here, adding that arrangements are going ahead to find the right premises.

''This is part of contingency preparations and not a signal that something is happening with regard to Iraq'' Kelly said.

CNA MM/2003

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