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22:07, 26 June 2017 Monday
Update: 11:14, 23 July 2012 Monday

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Famed Cuban dissident dead in car crash
Famed Cuban dissident dead in car crash
(Reuters)

Paya, 60, was traveling in eastern Granma province at the time of the accident, the details of which are not known, the sources said.

World Bulletin / News Desk 

One of Cuba's best-known dissidents, Oswaldo Paya, leader of the Christian Liberation Movement, died on Sunday in a car crash, government and opposition sources said.

Paya, 60, was traveling in eastern Granma province at the time of the accident, the details of which are not known, the sources said.

According to dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez, who broke the news on Twitter, Paya's death was confirmed by the bishop of Granma, Carlos Amador.

Paya's family was not immediately available for comment.

Another dissident died in the crash, and a Spaniard and Swede were injured, after the car left the road and hit a tree, government officials told Reuters.

In 2002, Paya spearheaded a petition campaign calling for a referendum on one-party rule and submitted more than 30,000 signatures.

The petition drive was rejected by the government, but Paya emerged as the leading advocate of peaceful democratic change in Communist-run Cuba.

Paya received the European Union's top human rights award in 2002, the Sakharov Prize, named after the late Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov.

He was nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize by former Czech President Vaclav Havel.

A devout Catholic who was sent to a labor camp in the 1960s for his religious beliefs, Paya overcame intimidation and harassment to build Cuba's first nationwide opposition initiative.

"This is tragic for the family and the human rights and pro-democracy movement in Cuba," said Elizardo Sanchez, head of the illegal but tolerated C u ban Commission for Human Rights.

"Paya was considered the most notable political leader of the Cuban opposition," he said.

 

 



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Cyprus president seeks peace deal in Switzerland
Cyprus president seeks peace deal in Switzerland

Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades said Monday he hopes to clinch a reunification deal laying out a new security blueprint for the divided island during a crunch summit in Switzerland this week. Anastasiades will attend United Nations-backed talks at the Alpine Crans-Montana ski resort Wednesday with "complete determination and goodwill... to achieve a desired solution", he said in a statement. He said he hopes to "abolish the anachronistic system of guarantees and intervention rights", with a deal providing for the withdrawal of the Turkish army. The eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded its northern third in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece. Turkey maintains around 35,000 troops in northern Cyprus. The so-called guarantor powers of Turkey, Britain and Greece retain the right to intervene militarily on the island. Greek and Turkish Cypriots are at odds over a new security blueprint, but their leaders are under pressure to reach an elusive peace deal. "I am going to Switzerland to participate in the Cyprus conference, with the sole aim and intent of solving the Cyprus problem," Anastasiades said. Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci is also set to attend the summit, which is expected to last at least 10 days. Greece, Turkey and Britain will send envoys along with an observer from the European Union. UN-led talks on the island hit a wall in late May after the sides failed to agree terms to advance toward a final summit. Unlocking the security question would allow Anastasiades and Akinci to make unprecedented concessions on core issues. But they have major differences on what a new security blueprint should look like. Anastasiades's internationally recognised government, backed by Athens, seeks an agreement to abolish intervention rights, with Turkish troops withdrawing from the island on a specific timeline. Turkish Cypriots and Ankara argue for some form of intervention rights and a reduced number of troops remaining in the north. Turkish Cypriots want the conference to focus on broader issues of power-sharing, property rights and territory for the creation of a new federation. Much of the progress to date has been based on strong personal rapport between Anastasiades and Akinci, leader of the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. But that goodwill has appeared frayed in the build-up to their meeting in Switzerland. The Greek Cypriot presidential election next February has also complicated the landscape, as has the government's search for offshore oil and gas, which Ankara argues should be suspended until the negotiations have reached an outcome.