"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Syria / Turkey / Cyprus in spat over new Famagusta - Latakia Ferry Services

"The link by ferry between the two port cities of Famagusta and Latakia is now assured every Monday and Thursday," a Syrian official is quoted by AFP today as the new ferry service got under way. The harbour of Famagusta in the north is a declared "closed access point" to and from the Northern Cyprus and the Cypriot Government claims this is backed by UN resolutions.

It is not without signifiance that the first sailing were timed to coincide with the Muslim Ramadan Bayram celebration on the 10th - 14th October.

However EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn is quoted as saying the use of occupied Famagusta port was not illegal under international law and that the issue was a bilateral one between Cyprus and Syria.The EU would not (and could not) intervene, because neither the EU nor the UN had ever imposed an embargo on ports in the north.

This is not only a threat to Cypriot sovereignty but also the current tourist trips from Limassol to Latakia.

Louis Lines, the Russian owned cruise operator will take you on a 3 day weekend cruise on their ship "Serenade" with the option of a tour of the Crac de Chevaliers , St George Monastery and shopping in Latakia enade" this weekend for 185 Cyprus Pounds and a partner at 50% extra. Departing Limassol 19th and staying in Latakia, Syria for 2 nights to return on Monday 22nd.

Consequently , this apparent recognition by Cyprus of the Northern Turkish regime is under heavyweight criticism and to show how concerned they Government is, Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou Marcoullis expects to visit Damascus before the end of the year.

Before then the self important honorary president of socialist EDEK Vassos Lyssarides will fly to Damascus on Saturday as an envoy of the government - and will acheive nothing but probably have a very enjoyable weekend being entertained.

Up to press , it is said that there have been Ministerial contacts at foreign minister level but Syria has yet to give a clear response as to whether it recognises the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), currently recognised only by Ankara.

There is local speculation that Syria has done a deal with the TRNC after receiving assurances from Turkey that it would not let Israeli jets fly over Turkish territory to attack Syria.

The Cypriot government says opening such a ferry operation is illegal as the harbour of Famagusta in the north is a declared "closed access point" to and from the republic. It says this is backed by UN resolutions.

A similar link started in 1978 -- four years after the US / Turkish invasion and seizure of the north of the island -- but it lasted only about a year.

This does not have anything to do with Cyprus being used as an entrepot port for human trafficking, money laundering, drug shipments, not at all, nothing, nada.

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