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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 09-01-10

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    UN Secretary Generals Special Advisor for Cyprus, Alexander Downer, has said that there is momentum on the Cyprus peace talks and called on the people to urge their leaders to continue to negotiate and come up with a good solution. Downer, who is back on the island for the direct negotiations, which began last September in order to reach a solution of the Cyprus problem, said one does not want to be setting artificial deadlines which will create a crisis in their own. He also stressed that a Cypriot solution should be put to the people and not one that is drawn by foreigners, adding that he is cautiously optimistic.

    Speaking after a meeting with President of the Republic Demetris Christofias on Friday at the Presidential Palace, Downer said that he had the opportunity to talk to the President for an hour after being away on holiday. Asked about the talks, Downer replied that from the UN point of view, our approach to this whole process is that we should be as hopeful as we possibly can but I have always said that it is my ambition and it is the UNs ambition that this process ultimately will be a Cypriot process and owned by all the people of Cyprus:

    Downer emphasized that this is not a process that will be owned by the UN or the international community, adding that it is very important that Cypriots feel that they own the negotiation and ultimately if there is to be an agreement that they own that agreement themselves. The UN diplomat said that he is trying to be helpful, noting he had a meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and also met with officials as well and next week, apart from hosting the leaders meeting on Monday he will be having many meetings during the course of next week with leading figures in Cyprus.


    The Finance Ministry has cut its economic forecasts in the wake of the global financial crisis. Charilaos Stavrakis has said that the Ministry projects economic growth of 2.1% as its central scenario, and 2.6% as an optimistic scenario instead of 3.0% provided for in the 2009 budget. Despite the downward revision, Stavrakis said that both the Finance Ministry and the Government have set a target that Cyprus will present, in 2009, the highest growth rate in the Euroarea which is expected, according to EU Commission figures, to present negative growth of 0.9%.

    ``The international financial crisis indeed is getting worse and this inevitably affects an open economy as that of Cyprus. However, we continue to believe that we will have very satisfactory growth rates,`` Stavrakis told a press conference. According to the Finance Ministry figures, Cyprus in 2009 will present inflation of 2% (down 0.5% compared to the initial forecast), 4.5% instead of 4.2% unemployment and fiscal deficit between 0.6% and 0.8%

    In revising its forecast, the Finance Ministry took into account the slowdown in the Euroarea in general as well as the slowdown in Cyprus main economic partners, namely the United Kingdom, Cyprus main tourist partner, Russia that is equally important to Cyprus regarding tourism, real estate and investments, as well as the ``dramatic deterioration`` of the UK sterling - euro rate, which affects the competitiveness of the Cypriot tourist product. The Finance Minister also referred to the decline of consumer`s confidence noting that this took place due to ``the literature and scaremongering developed around the problems of the economy.``

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