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Cyprus government: Israel’s position remains unchanged
2005-01-07 10:27:27

Nicosia, Jan 7 (CNA) – Israel’s policy on Cyprus has not changed, the Cyprus government has said today, following contacts with the country’s Ambassador in Nicosia and the Foreign Ministry in Tel Aviv.

Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides told reporters that the state of Israel has not changed its policy as regards to Cyprus, nor in relation to the occupied areas or investments in the occupied north.

Foreign Minister George Iacovou told reporters earlier Friday that the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Sotos Zackheos would contact Israel’s ambassador to Cyprus. “Our embassy in Tel Aviv has been monitoring for long now the Turkish activity and we are therefore fully informed on what has happened”, the minister said.

He added that Turkey’s relations with Israel were upset following statements made by the Turkish premier and that Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul went to Tel Aviv in an effort to settle relations. Iacovou said that neither the issue of the occupied areas nor the Cyprus problem were raised during Gul’s meeting with his Israeli counterpart Silvan Shalom.

Iacovou clarified the issue was the result of a statement made by Israel’s ambassador in Ankara to Turkish reporters that his country does not encourage investments in the occupied areas nor it has legislation which prevents it. Iacovou said the ambassador noted Israel’s position had not changed and wondered how the statement was misinterpreted.

The Cypriot minister said that in early February the Republic of Cyprus would hold “high level contacts with Israel”.

The Foreign Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Sotos Zackheos told reporters that following a conversation he had with ambassador Zvi Cohen Litant “Israel’s positions, as mentioned in Tel Aviv and in Nicosia are identical, there is no change in Israel’s stance”.

Zackheos said that the Cyprus problem was not raised in Gul’s discussions in Tel Aviv, noting that Israeli officials do not encourage investments in the occupied areas.

However he said the private sector is free to invest, but is aware of the legal obstacles, which might arise from such investments.

The FM’s Permanent Secretary said that Litant pointed out that there were three reports in the Israeli press recently underlining the dangers from such investments.

Zackheos said he hoped the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s contacts would have produced such results that would protect Cyprus’ interests.

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