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Government expresses condolences over Columbia tragedy
2003-02-05 14:41:53

Nicosia, Feb 5 (CNA) - The government of Cyprus, through President Glafcos Clerides and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ioannis Kasoulides, has expressed shock and profound grief over the Columbia tragedy.

Messages of condolences were sent to US President George Bush, US Secretary of State Colin Powell, India's Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha and Israel's Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.|

In a letter to Bush, President Clerides expressed his ''sincere condolences for the tragic Columbia space shuttle disaster that cost the lives of the seven courageous crew members''.

''I express the shock and profound grief of my government and the people of Cyprus for this unexpected tragedy'', Clerides said and assured the US President that ''though these brave men and women have perished, their enormous dedication and contribution to space science and technology will remain indelible in our memories''.

He also asked President Bush to convey to the families of the deceased ''our deepest sympathies and grief''.

In his message to Colin Powell, Kasoulides expressed the ''deepest condolences for last Saturday's tragic accident that resulted in the terrible loss of the seven astronauts of the space shuttle Columbia''.

He said ''the government and the people of Cyprus have been shocked and they mourn alongside the American people for this disaster''.

In a message of condolences to his Indian counterpart, Sinha, Kasoulides further said it was ''with profound sorrow and shock'' that he received the tragic news of the Columbia space shuttle disaster.

''On behalf of the government and the people of the Republic of Cyprus and myself I wish to express our sincere condolences for the tragic loss of the courageous Indian astronaut'', Kalpana Chawla.

Kasoulides also sent a similar message of condolences to his Israeli counterpart, Netanyahu, noting the ''profound sorrow and shock'' over the tragic news of the Columbia space shuttle disaster.

He expressed ''sincere condolences for the tragic loss of the courageous Israeli astronaut'', payload specialist Ilan Ramon.

CNA/EC/RG/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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