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Justice Minister: US human rights report on Cyprus ''unacceptable''
2005-03-07 11:55:41

Nicosia, Mar 7 (CNA) -- Cyprus' Justice and Public Order Minister Doros Theodorou has described as ''unacceptable'' a US report on human rights in Cyprus, pointing out that it is the outcome of prejudice and a misinterpretation of facts in order to expose the Republic of Cyprus.

''The least one can say about the report is that it is unacceptable, even more so because it ignores totally the continuing Turkish occupation and violation of human rights of all the Cypriots,'' the minister said in statements on his return from London.

Theodorou expressed regret that the report considers as human rights violation the Republic's refusal to allow the operation of occupied ports and airport.

''If the US continues along this path, it will only expose itself,'' he pointed out.

Following the 1974 Turkish invasion, the government of the Republic declared as illegal ports of entry all ports and airports operating in the occupied north. It has proposed the joint Greek-Turkish Cypriot operation of the occupied port of Famagusta, which the Turkish Cypriot regime has turned down.

Responding to questions about money laundering through illegal casinos in the occupied areas, the minister said the Cypriot economy cannot be harmed through such illegal actions.

The report said that 22 such casino operate in occupied Cyprus, where money laundering takes place, according to the report.

''These are illegal casinos but the government is prevented from exercising its jurisdiction in the occupied areas and therefore we cannot intervene and arrest those, Greek Cypriots included, who break the law,'' he said.

The government, he added, condemns such actions but at present there is not anything else that we can do.

The minister stressed that since the partial lifting of the restrictions on freedom of movement across the ceasefire line in April 2003, the Cypriot economy contributes to the economy of the Turkish Cypriots.

Many Turkish Cypriots are now employed in the government-controlled part of the country and it is estimated that some 180 million Cyprus pounds one way or another, such as employment or medical care, is poured annually into the Turkish Cypriot community (one Cyprus pound is trading at 1.6 US dollars).

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