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/ Source: Reuters

NICOSIA, Cyprus -- The opening seconds of an old New Year's message featuring a former leader of Cyprus instead of the country's current president were inadvertently aired, prompting an embarrassed apology from a TV network on Thursday.

The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CyBC) said it had realized its mistake within seconds of the broadcast going out on Wednesday afternoon and had halted transmission of the address from former president Demetris Christofias.

Christofias bowed out after Nicos Anastasiades won an election in February 2013.

The broadcaster is now conducting an internal inquiry into the "very serious" error, CyBC said in a statement carried by the Cyprus News Agency.