Cyprus president apologizes for munitions blast deaths



Agence France Presse

Published — Friday 12 July 2013

Last update 12 July 2013 2:35 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

NICOSIA: Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades yesterday publicly apologized for the deaths of 13 firemen and soldiers in a munitions blast exactly two years since the island’s worst peacetime disaster.
“Those who died during conditions of peace, were victims of irresponsibility and indifference of a state which today humbly bows in their memory,” Anastasiades said at a memorial service held at the Mari naval base on the south coast where the explosion occurred on July 11, 2011.
“The state overwhelmingly extends a public apology and greatly regrets everything that it should have done on time but unfortunately failed to protect its children,” he added.
He said the state took sole responsibility for everything that happened leading up to the explosion of confiscated Iranian munitions which also took out the island’s largest power plant.
On Tuesday ex-defense minister Costas Papacostas was found guilty of manslaughter while three fire chiefs were convicted of causing death through negligence linked to the blast.
The four accused are scheduled to be sentenced on July 24, although Papacostas is being treated in intensive care at Nicosia General Hospital under police guard.
Ex-foreign minister Marcos Kyprianou and army deputy commander Savvas Argyrou were found not guilty on all charges by the criminal court in the same trial.
Relatives of those killed — seven soldiers and six firemen — and injured in the blast at Mari expressed anger at the verdicts, which they described as an “injustice.” They had demanded that all the defendants “and many more” should go to prison for life.
Many believe that the person who should be on trial is Demetris Christofias who was president at the time of the blast.
A public inquiry found former president Christofias responsible for the explosion, but there was never any possibility of legal proceedings against him as the constitution gives him immunity from prosecution.
Anastasiades said yesterday he will propose legislation that will make the president and his ministers more accountability by restricting their immunity.
During the lengthy trial, the prosecution painted a picture of ineptitude and oversights that led to the disaster.
There was a public outcry after munitions stored at the naval base for almost three years, under searing heat in summer, exploded despite repeated warnings that they were unsafe.

Some 98 containers were piled up unprotected at the base, just 150 meters (yards) from the island’s biggest power station at Vassiliko.
They were seized in February 2009 when Cyprus intercepted a Cypriot-flagged freighter bound from Iran for Syria and a UN sanctions committee said the cargo contravened a ban on Iranian arms shipments.
The public inquiry said the munitions were kept in Cyprus to placate Syria and Iran in a risky diplomatic game.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: The government has installed 5,000 high-definition cameras on all floors and courtyards of the Grand Mosque to ensure security and crowd control.These cameras are monitored 24 hours a day by officers at a control center in Mina. They have to...
GENEVA: Saudi Arabia has welcomed the report of the International Fact Finding Commission on Israeli aggression in Gaza and has lauded its effort to prepare the report despite noncooperation from Israel which did not allow the committee to do its wor...
JEDDAH: Several Yemenis have praised the government for correcting their status quickly, which created no extra burden while fasting.Many who gathered in front of the Passport Department in Asir said everything was in place for them, a local newspape...
RIYADH: The $11.6 billion King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) is already being admired for being a smart city but nobody can tell when it will be completed.“Being a smart city, everything is state-of-the-art. There is seamless Internet access and...
RIYADH: In a new move, the Ministry of Health will conduct drug tests on all drivers ferrying pilgrims between Makkah and Madinah during the Haj season.The decision was taken at a Haj preparatory meeting held on Sunday under the chairmanship of Imad...
JEDDAH: Motorbikes are among the most important means of transportation in Makkah during Ramadan because they are easy to use and cope easily with congestion in the central area next to the Grand Mosque. Despite the presence of public transportation,...
JEDDAH: A local man here runs a business started 150 years ago by his grandfather making sought-after Hijazi sweets for Eid and other festivals.Samer Jastaniah, 35, has three family shops making these products. “I am the grandson of the doyen of swee...
RIYADH: Saudi students have won six medals — a gold, a silver and four bronze — at the 19th Junior Balkan Mathematical Olympiad (JBMO 2015), securing the fifth place for the nation, as against 13th in its first participation in 2013.Rinad Abu-Jamal f...
Ambassador of Belgium Geert Criel:— Which particular aspect of Saudi Arabia you like the most? The friendliness of its people.— What is your favorite and oft-repeated Arabic word? Ahlan wa Sahlan.— Which book is by your bedside these days? World Orde...
AL-AHSA: Saudi farmers here need more support to buy fertilizers, medicines and equipment, and market their products.This is the view of Ahmed Al-Musalmi, who recently won the country’s ‘Ideal Farmer Award.’ He said high production costs and low mark...
JEDDAH: The Commission of the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) has launched 20 initiatives aimed at improving the professionalism of employees and limiting individual interpretations and actions while carrying out duties.Sheikh Abdul...
RIYADH: Medical studies and research for new methods in the treatment of chronic diseases suggests that fasting could help combat cancer and boost effectiveness of treatment.Scientists doing research on the positive aspects of fasting discovered that...
RIYADH: The Ministry of Education has announced that Saudi universities would accept 95 percent of high school graduates, despite a royal decree four years ago setting a ceiling of 70 percent.The royal decree had approved the “Afaq Project,” a strate...
JEDDAH: With the first stages of the municipal elections set to launch in Dhul Qadah, various organizations and institutions are responding to the intensifying “election fever” by trying to get in on the action and making a strong presence on the sce...
AL-AHSA: The third annual Youth Nights Festival kicked off at King Abdullah Environmental Park in Al-Ahsa recently. Organized by the General Presidency of Youth Welfare (GPYW), in collaboration with Al-Ahsa Municipality, the festival targets 70,000 y...

Stay Connected

Facebook