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Cyprus FM sees difficulties in direct flights to occupied Cyprus
2004-10-29 12:54:26

Nicosia, Oct 29 (CNA) -- Cyprus Foreign Minister George Iacovou believes that it is highly unlikely to establish direct flights between the island's northern Turkish occupied areas and overseas destinations.

''Washington interprets a call for the lifting of the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots to include direct flights as well. The US is well aware of the serious problems involved in such a venture, namely international law and conventions,'' the minister said.

His comments follow increased moves, such as dispatch of experts to inspect security and safety procedures, by the US authorities to establish direct flights with the occupied areas.

The European Union decided in April this year, after the Turkish Cypriots approved a UN-backed solution plan, to try and end what they called ''the isolation of Turkish Cypriots''. The same call came from the UN as well.

The Cypriot minister also said that direct trade between the occupied areas and the EU depends on the EU Council of Ministers and not the Commission.

''The Commission has done its job, it has put forward two proposals - on direct trade and on funding for the Turkish Cypriots. The Council of Ministers has said the proposals needed to be discussed in detail,'' Iavovou said.

He explained that the proposal on funding the Turkish Cypriots to help improve further their economic development was all but agreed on whereas the proposal on direct trade seems to be referred to a later date, since many member states see problematic areas in what is suggested.

The minister's comments were echoed by Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides who pointed out that ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) does not allow the use of non recognised ports and airports.

He said the government of the Republic of Cyprus, in exercising its rights, had declared ''illegal port of entries'' all ports and airports in Turkish occupied Cyprus, following the 1974 invasion of the island.

''International organisations and others who are trying to contravene these principles by any means should take heed and respect them,'' the spokesman added.

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