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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 06-07-12

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    President of the House of Representatives Demetris Christofias said today that the significance of the developments signaled by the recent meeting between President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat will appear by the follow-up of the whole effort, adding that in order for there to be a follow-up, the issues of substance to be discussed at the technical committees must first be agreed on.

    Speaking at an event under the title ``Memory of Makarios and Resistance``, organised by the Historical Cultural Centre Makarios III in Panayia village, Christofias said the precondition for the success of the struggle is unity on the home front.

    Christofias referred to the service of the late President and Archbishop of Cyprus Makarios III, noting that ``Makarios managed to overcome the difficult situations`` and took ``tough political decisions at crucial historical moments.``

    Referring to the Cyprus problem, Christofias said ``we wish a solution to the Cyprus problem, in a way that will abolish the occupation and reunite our country and people.``

    He said the results of the meeting on July 8 between President Papadopoulos, Talat and UN Undersecretary General for political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari are a positive step forward but pointed out that ``the significance of the developments signaled by the Papadopoulos-Talat meeting will appear by the follow-up of the whole effort.``

    ``In order for there to be a follow-up, the issues of substance to be discussed at the technical committees must first be agreed on. Soon we will be in a position to know what the intentions of the two sides are and if they truly have the goodwill to serve the prospect of producing, in the near future, visible and concrete results,`` he noted.

    The House President pointed out that time was working against the reunification of the island, adding that a settlement should restore and guarantee human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, which is ``the only way for the solution to be in the interests of our people.``


    Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs George Lillikas clarified to Finnish Ambassador in Nicosia Risto Piipponen the framework in which the government supports a European Union regulation on direct trade between the Union and the island`s Turkish occupied areas and said that there would probably be some movement on the issue.

    Speaking after a meeting with Piipponen and asked if EU discussions on Turkey`s accession course would be moved to the end of the year, Lillikas said there were many ideas by various countries, adding that the Cypriot government had specific aims and was making efforts to gain allies.

    Lillikas said that during his meeting with Piipponen they discussed matters of interest to the EU Finnish presidency, as well as issues concerning Cyprus, such as plans to reopen the Turkish occupied port and town of Famagusta, Turkey`s EU accession course and the way discussions will be held within the EU after a Commission progress report on Turkey.

    They also made preparations for the meeting Lillikas will be having in Brussels on July 18 with his Finnish counterpart.

    Replying to questions about the regulation on direct trade with the Turkish Cypriots, Lillikas referred to the government`s proposal, as well as the proposal formed during the Luxembourg presidency, and the commitment of the presidencies of Austria, Finland and Germany to promote this regulation in the framework agreed on.

    He added that the Cypriot government has requested the involvement of European Commissioner for enlargement Olli Rehn.

    Lillikas said Piipponen conveyed various other informal ideas given to the Finnish presidency and that he clarified to the Ambassador ``the framework in which the Cypriot government supports this regulation, on the basis of which principles, and which specific measures.``

    ``I believe there will be some movement. However, I am not in a position to know the result at this moment. We know that the return of the town of Famagusta, which is a fundamental precondition for us, cannot be imposed by the EU alone. The acceptance of Turkey is necessary,`` he added.

    Asked if there were any considerations about moving the discussion on Turkey to the end of the year, Lillikas said ``there are many ideas`` and that ``every country, not only the EU members but others, have thoughts or place ideas on the table.``

    ``We have specific aims which we have discussed with the Greek government as well and it is towards these objectives that we work and in order to reach these goals we are having contacts and communication with other EU member states to gain allies,`` he added.


    ECOFIN decided, at the suggestion of the European Commission, to revoke the excessive deficit process, which had been activated for Cyprus in 2004. The Council accepted the Commission`s position that Cyprus had managed sustainable fiscal corrections, restoring the deficit below the 3% GDP ceiling.

    Cypriot Minister of Finance Michalis Sarris, who participated in the ECOFIN meeting, received the praises of his counterparts, the Finnish presidency and the Commission, who noted that Cyprus` efforts were effective.

    Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Joaquin Almunia said Cyprus was a paradigm to be copied, since it is the first of the new EU countries that is taken out the excessive deficit process, adding that if a country has the political will, it can achieve much in a very short time.

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