NEWS

Second Cyprus minister resigns

A burgeoning political crisis in Cyprus deepened on Monday after Foreign Minister Marcos Kyprianou offered to resign in the wake of a military munitions dump blast last week that killed 13 people.

Kyprianou said he had resigned ?not from a sense of guilt, but due to political sensitivity,? making vague references to political point-scoring and scapegoats.

By late Monday Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias had not accepted Kyprianou?s resignation.

Cyprus?s defense minister, Costas Papacostas, and armed forces chief, Petros Tsalikides, resigned within hours of the blast on July 11.

Agriculture Minister Dimitris Iliadis, appointed acting defence minister, accompanied Greek Defence Minister Panayiotis Beglitis during a visit to the dump on Monday.

Documents leaked to the media indicate that several ministers knew that the munitions were likely to explode.

According to opinion polls, Christofias is blamed by most Cypriots for the blast and his administration has come under fire for accepting an offer by Turkish Cypriots to make up for energy shortages following the destruction of a power station located next to the munitions dump.

Kyprianou, the son of former president Spyros Kyprianou, is a member of DIKO, the centrist party with which left-leaning AKEL runs Cyprus?s coalition government.