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Cyprus government's initial reaction to UN report
2005-06-07 15:24:00

Nicosia, Jun 7 (CNA) -- The government of Cyprus appeared satisfied today that UN Secretary General Kofi Annan recommends that the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus must remain at its present level, taking into consideration suggestions to amend the composition of the force.

Acting Government Spokesman Marios Karoyan, in an initial response to Annan's report to the UN Security Council on the UN operation in Cyprus, said that the report includes provisions that must not by necessity be accepted either by the Greek Cypriot or the Turkish Cypriot side.

Karoyan refrained from an in depth assessment of the report, saying that the government would study the contents of the report and then make further comment. He noted however that there are provisions in the report that give the right to each side to give its own interpretation.

''Everybody is of the opinion that the Turkish side, by virtue of its violation of international law and the presence of its occupation troops, is accountable for the maintenance of the current status quo, a source of concern not only for the Greek Cypriots but also for international law and order,'' Karoyan added.

Responding to questions, he said Annan made his assessment that the time is not yet ripe to appoint a full time person dedicated to the question of Cyprus before the recent consultations with the UN had begun.

Karoyan said the Turkish military had upgraded its occupation forces, in response to Annan's assertion that the nature of the Turkish army equipment had remained unchanged.

In response to Annan's comment that the rotation of Turkish troops and their equipment did not imply a reinforcement, Karoyan noted that there are many ways to upgrade one's equipment without necessarily increasing the number of soldiers on the ground.

Karoyan disagreed with Annan's view that a rise in litigations in property cases on either side poses a serious threat to people relationships and to the reconciliation process.

''We consider the right of every individual to claim his own property indelible. It is safeguarded by international conventions, and is a fundamental principle of international law,'' he pointed out.

He said the sale of Greek Cypriot properties in occupied Cyprus creates no doubt additional problems.

Karoyan noted the absence of any reference to what he described as a ''fiasco'' with regard to a failed attempt to locate remains of missing persons in Turkish occupied Cyprus, following wrong information given by the Turkish Cypriot side.

Acting spokesman said the UN know that the government had cooperated in police investigations into the murder of three Turkish Cypriots, found dead in their car in the southern government part of the island.

The report said that ''eight suspects were arrested in the north while all evidence remained in the south'' and refers to ''lack of cooperation'' between the two sides.

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