Over 240 sick and wounded Greek and Turkish Cypriot prisoners were exchanged on Monday (16 September) in the courtyard of the Ledra Place Hotel in Nicosia.
GV PANS Coachloads f prisoners arriving at Ledra Place Hotel. (3 shots)
SV PAN UN Soldier taking cold drinks to POW's as they wait in coaches.
SV Red Cross workers with table for counting prisoners.
GV PAN POW's walking away and crowd waving.
SV POW with injured foot.
SV Red Cross workers checking off POW's.
GV Red Cross ambulance.
SV Injured POW'S inside ambulance.
GV POW's waving towards camera and UN observers watching. (2 shots)
Hotel workers watching and waving as POW's leave.
GV AND SV Turkish POW's arrive and greeted by cheering corwds. (4 shots)
SV Rauf Denktash greeting POW's.
"This first Datch of prisoners and detainees - 116 Greek Cypriot 139 Turkish Cypriots - were brought by bus to United Nations headquarters at the Ledra Palace Hotel. The Turkish Cypriots arrived first followed a few minutes later by Greek Cypriots. All seemed to be in good general condition. They were given cold drinks while heads were counted. Red Cross workers had set up a table beside a huge eucalyptus tree to process the prisoners as quickly as possible. Then bus by bus, man for man, they were called form the vehicles that had brought them here for exchange. All were civilian clothes, some carried small bundles of possessions. They were all officially said to be sick and wounded form camps and hospitals on Cyprus, but none appeared to have serious wounds and there were few stretcher cases. There were no Greek Cypriot prisoners form camps on the Turkish mainland in this exchange. There was no notification in advance for families of those freed because of difficulties in compiling precisely accurate lists and in case last minute disputes or delays caused disappointment. Apart from newsmen, Red Cross and United Nations observers the only people to see the hangover were hotel workers who waved and shouted greetings to the prisoners."
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Background: Over 240 sick and wounded Greek and Turkish Cypriot prisoners were exchanged on Monday (16 September) in the courtyard of the Ledra Place Hotel in Nicosia.
It was the first formal transfer of civilian and military captives between the two sides since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus nearly two months ago.
The prisoners arrived in 11 civilian buses which entered the courtyard from opposite sides accompanied by Austrian United Nations policemen.
After a 30-minute wait to complete formalities the prisoners, some of them weeping, filed from one side of the courtyard to the other past a table draped with the Red Cross flag. A few of them limiped, but none appeared to be seriously sick or injured.
The exchange follows an agreement between the Greek Cypriot President, Glafkos Clerides, and Mr. Rauf Denktash, the Turkish Cypriot leader, to free prisoners who are sick or wounded, those under 18 or over 50, students, teachers, priests and medical staff. The Red Cross say that it is hoped to complete the exchange of the estimated 550 other eligible prisoners within 10 days.
BBC reporter Larry Harris was in Nicosia to report on the scene. a transcript of his commentary is provided overleaf.
SYNOPSIS: In Cyprus the first part of an agreed exchanged of Greek and Turkish Cypriot prisoners took place in Nicosia on Monday. BBC reporter Larry Harris takes up the story......