Amit Baruah

Supports efforts to promote civilian nuclear supply for economic development

NICOSIA (Cyprus): Cyprus, a member of the Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG), has welcomed the civilian nuclear understanding reached between India and the United States in March this year.

In an interview to The Hindu ahead of his visit to India from Tuesday, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos said on Thursday, "Cyprus welcomes the agreement between India and the U.S. on full international cooperation in civilian nuclear energy.

"Both sides [Cyprus and India] agree that such cooperation would help in addressing concerns related to global energy security and environmental protection.

Cyprus conveys its support for India's efforts for the promotion of civilian nuclear supply for the benefit of her economic development and prosperity ... ," Mr. Papadopoulos said. Cyprus joins key European Union members such as France and Britain in announcing its support for the India-U.S. nuclear deal, which remains mired in controversy in Washington.

Apart from being approved by the U.S. Congress, the NSG, too, must consent to lifting the civilian nuclear curbs on India.

The 72-year-old President spoke warmly of his country's relationship with India, recalling that New Delhi had taken a principled position on the Cyprus issue over the years.

A friendly country

"Throughout these years, India has always been a friendly country, supporting the principles [behind] a solution of the Cyprus problem, the various resolutions of the United Nations ... territorial integrity, [and] sovereignty of Cyprus," he said.

"Everybody knows India is a country with a great culture [and] history, and it plays a major role in world affairs. Now, India is one of the leading countries in the rate of growth, especially in information technology," Mr. Papadopoulos said.

Tourism in Cyprus was affected by the Iraq war. "Last September, I was in New York for a U.N. meeting. And there, I happened to meet several leading personalities from Iraq. Irrespective of what their attitude was towards their internal problems, all of them have explained that foreign troops must be removed."

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