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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 10-02-05

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Cyprus President Demetris Christofias has extensively briefed the members of the National Council on the latest developments in the Cyprus issue that concern the outcome of the intensive talks, and the visit of the UN Secretary General to Cyprus, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou has said, adding that the representatives of the political parties expressed their views on Presidents briefing.

    Speaking after Fridays session of the National Council, the top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus problem, which is composed of two members from all parliamentary parties, Stephanou said that President Christofias authorized him to make that statement, noting that there has not been a common statement on behalf of the National Council, because one of the political parties did not wish a common statement to be issued.

    Replying to a question, Stephanou said that during the intensive talks, between the leaders of the two communities, significant progress has been reached, not because of a shift in the stance of the Greek Cypriot side, as Mehmet Ali Talat claimed.

    The political parties have been briefed today, on what areas these convergences were reached and I believe no one can claim that our side has endorsed unacceptable positions that fall within the framework of the Turkish proposals, he said.

    Stephanou said that the political parties have been briefed orally and extensively not only on the issues of convergences, but also on the issues of divergences and disagreements.

    We have called the political parties from the beginning, when progress was announced in the framework of the intensive talks, to wait to be briefed in details in the National Council, he said and added: There have been steps forward; there have been further convergences which for us constitute progress. From there on, the political parties give their own interpretations and their own positions.

    Replying to a question, Stephanou said that the society of Cyprus will be helped if we show the minimum of trust to the President of the Republic, who is the negotiator of the Greek Cypriot side.

    Asked about the Special Advisor of the UN Secretary General on the Cyprus problem, Alexander Downer, and the position of a number of Cyprus political parties that he should better be removed from his office, Spokesman said that the Government is not a political party, and is handling some issues carefully and not in public.

    The government is making representations and is taking some steps and preventing actions, and our serious behavior should not be conceived as a passive position against possible intensions in several issues that concern Cyprus problem, he concluded.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Peace talks began in September 2008 with a view to finding a negotiated settlement to reunite the country.

    In January 2010, the two leaders have conducted two rounds of intensive talks that lasted seven days.

    At the end of the last day, Alexander Downer stated that they have reached significant progress on the issue of governance and power sharing.


    Libor Rucek Coordinator of the European Parliament`s High-level contact group for the relations with the Turkish Cypriot community expressed on Friday his admiration for the will of the leaders of the two communities to bring about a solution to the Cyprus problem. In a press conference upon the conclusion of the group`s visit on Cyprus, Rucek said that the work of the two leaders is not easy as the process is ``undermined by some parties.``

    This was the first visit of the Group under its new composition following the European elections last June. The group had meetings with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and was briefed on the political situation by UN and EU officials. In his remarks, Rucek said the Group has now a ``wider picture`` regarding the ongoing UN-led negotiations, adding that the Group will intensify its work and will hold an additional two visits on the island in May and November.

    ``The purpose of the first visit is clear. We try as the whole of the EU as the European parliament to encourage the leaders of both communities to work together, to come if possible to a successful solution,`` Rucek added. He also praised the importance of business in boosting the relations between the two communities. ``We think business on both sides can play a very important role,`` he said.


    Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC) announced Friday that ``JSC LTB Bank`` of Latvia decided to establish a branch in Cyprus, in accordance with the right of freedom of establishment of banks incorporated in EU member states.

    In its announcement, Central Bank of Cyprus describes the decision of ``JSC LTB Bank`` to establish a branch in Cyprus as ``another indication of Cyprus success in attracting foreign credit institutions, as a result of its international recognition as a reputable European financial centre``.

    It notes that at present, 35 foreign credit institutions operate in Cyprus, either in the form of a subsidiary bank or a branch, from 14 different countries (Austria, Bulgaria, France, Greece, the United Kingdom, Jordan, Ireland, Latvia, Lebanon, Ukraine, Romania, Russia, Tanzania, and Jersey).

    It says that ``JSC LTB Bank`` operates in Latvia since 1991 and is a 100% subsidiary of MDM Bank, which is one of the largest privately owned banks of Russia.


    The European Commission decided on Friday to allow Cyprus to raise the age limit for BSE testing in cattle up to 48 months old, based on an improvement of the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) situation in the island.

    According to Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou, ``the regulation adopted today came after the Cypriot competent authorities were able to demonstrate the improvement of the BSE epidemiological situation on the island and the Commission to verify their findings``. She noted that ``Cyprus now joins a group of Member States that have already been authorised to increase the testing age to up to 48 months.``

    Furthermore, the European Commission says that an audit carried out in Cyprus acknowledged the proper implementation of the protective measures regarding BSE as set out in Regulation (EC) No 999/2001, adding that ``on 29 April 2009, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published an updated opinion and concluded that no BSE case would be missed annually if the age of the bovine animals covered by the BSE monitoring was increased to 48 months``.

    In addition, Commission says that all the requirements to show the requisite improvement in the epidemiological situation in Cyprus were also verified.

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