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New Minister of Foreign Affairs assumes duties
2006-06-14 14:56:22

Nicosia, Jun 14 (CNA) - New Minister of Foreign Affairs George Lillikas said he felt a huge responsibility taking over from George Iacovou, who has the richest diplomatic experience in the country, the longest total term in office at the specific Ministry and has offered much to the political and diplomatic struggles for a settlement of the Cyprus problem.

Taking over the Ministry today, after a government reshuffle last week, Lillikas said he intended to utilise the experience of Iacovou and asked for the staff's assistance in the new struggles that await Cyprus both within and outside the EU towards reaching a solution of the Cyprus question.

Handing over the portfolio, Iacovou said the Ministry was a temple of assertion and struggle for the rights of the Cypriot people, and called on the new Minister of Foreign Affairs to continue the tradition and always put Cyprus first.

Lillikas said that anyone in his shoes today would feel ''the huge responsibility and the liability'' he is taking on by succeeding Iacovou, who has ''the largest and richest diplomatic experience in our country, with tremendous service to the political and diplomatic struggles our homeland has given in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem and with the longest term in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,'' spanning over three terms in office, as well as terms as Ambassador of the Republic and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry.

''In a country where our struggle continues towards reversing the occupation, the experience and prowess of Mr. Iacovou cannot remain unexploited and unutilised,'' Lillikas said, adding that Iacovou's mark will always be on the Ministry.

He also noted that any proposals, suggestions and ideas would be welcomed from the staff in order to improve and upgrade the Ministry's work.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Sotos Zackheos said Iacovou was a ''worldwide personality'' and has offered much to the country and the national cause.

Zackheos welcomed the new Minister and assured him on behalf of the staff that they would support him in achieving the Ministry's objectives

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