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France thanks Cyprus for contributing in maritime safety
2006-03-21 14:01:27

Nicosia, Mar 21 (CNA) – Member of the French National Assembly and chairman of the Committee for Tourism and Maritime, Didier Quentin, expressed France’s appreciation for Cyprus’ positive contribution in promoting legislative measures concerning the maritime safety.

Speaking after a meeting of members of the French committee with the House Communications Committee, Quentin conveyed the French Assembly’s readiness to further cooperate with the House of Representatives on issues of common interest.

Quentin asked the committee to be informed on the views of the Cyprus House on the Commission’s Third Maritime Safety Package known as “Erika III”.

Regarding Erika III, Quentin asked the committee which part of the package poses the most difficulties to the House Communications Committee.

The committee’s chairman, Nicos Pittokopitis said the Cypriot MPs were informed on the issues related with the civil responsibility of ship owners, accident investigation, the state exercising control on the port and the setting up of a system to monitor and control sea traffic.

Quentin expressed his country’s gratitude for Cyprus “positively contributing to all efforts” concerning maritime safety.

The French diplomat called on Pittokopitis to inform him on the quality of the waters in tourist coastal areas as well as the development in these areas where there is “a lot of cement”, as he said.

Quentin, who also chairs the National Association of Elected Coastal Districts, said the association cooperates with Cyprus and aims at gaining an exchange of experiences on the issue of coasts.

“There is a lot of room for cooperation in protecting the flora and the fauna”, said Quentin.

On his part, Pittokopitis said that in many cases, the excessive construction in coastal areas in Cyprus is due to the fact that two coastal areas of Cyprus, Kyrenia and Famagusta that were developed before the Turkish invasion of 1974 are still under occupation.

Almost 75% of our free areas which are available to the public are awarded with the eco-label Blue Flag said Pittokopitis, noting it is very important for Cyprus to maintain a naturally clean environment since a large slice of the Cypriot economy’s income comes from tourism.

Pittokopitis acknowledged that in the beginning, there was undisciplined development, adding that this was done to enable a large number of displaced persons and refugees become active again.

“Now there are strict laws and town planning regulations and the unruly development is a thing of the past”, adding that any development in coastal areas can only be done away from then coast, just like in Nice, France and other areas.

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