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President: Kyrenia ship symbol of will to reunite Cyprus
2002-11-10 14:17:03

Limassol, Nov 10 (CNA) -- President Glafcos Clerides, House President Demetris Christofias and Greek minister of Merchant Shipping George Anomeritis attended today a ceremony to launch the vessel that will carry Cyprus copper to Greece for the bronze medals of the 2004 Olympic Games.

"The ship Kyrenia-Freedom sends a message of optimism and hope and it is a symbol of our will to continue our efforts until Cyprus is reunited," President Clerides said in his brief address at the launch of the vessel in Limassol port.

Kyrenia-Freedom is a replica of the Kyrenia ship, a fourth century vessel that sank off the northern coast around 300 BC near the port of Kyrenia, which has been under Turkish occupation for the past 28 years.

The original vessel was discovered in 1965 by a Cypriot diver, Andreas Kariolou, and is believed to be the oldest ship ever discovered in the condition that it was. She now lies in Kyrenia castle and it is under the protection of the UNESCO, the UN cultural organization.|

President Clerides said Kyrenia-Freedom is a "living ambassador" of Cyprus and its people and has attracted the interest of archaeologists from around the world.

Kyrenia mayor Constaninos Orologas said the reconstruction of the ancient ship of Kyrenia is a symbol of the renewal of Cyprus.

Greek minister Anomeritis, representing the Greek government, said the joint ship registry of Greece and Cyprus, once the latter joins the European Union, will amount to 52 per cent of the European ship registry.

This, he said, is due "to our ancient roots and links with the sea."

Greek Ambassador here Christos Panagopoulos, representing the Greek President, congratulated everybody on their noble endeavour to take copper to Greece for the bronze Olympic medals.

The ceremony included a representation of the launching of ships, as this took place in ancient times.

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