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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 10-08-26

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Steven Vanackere has said here Thursday that the Belgian Presidency of the EU wants to encourage each candidate country to continue in the enlargement process, without exception and without having a situation in which some country will be treated more severely or with some kind of preference.

    The Belgian Minister welcomed proposals put forward at the Cyprus peace talks by President Demetris Christofias.

    He was speaking after a meeting with Cypriot FM Markos Kyprianou, during which the two discussed bilateral relations, regional issues and Belgiums priorities during its EU presidency.

    Kyprianou said bilateral relations are excellent and the two countries are celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations. Belgium was one of the first countries to recognize the Republic of Cyprus which became independent in 1960, he remarked.

    We would like to see more economic cooperation and more trade and investments. There will also be an increase of flights by various carriers from Belgium to Cyprus and this will also help in having more visitors to Cyprus from Belgium and vice versa, he added.

    The Cypriot FM said they discussed the program and the priorities in the Belgian EU Presidency and added: we fully support and share the priorities of the Belgian presidency. We have the same concerns and the same interests and Cyprus will do everything in its power to help Belgium towards a successful Presidency in all these areas.

    The two, he noted, also discussed the Cyprus issue, developments in relation to the ongoing negotiating process, reassuring that Cyprus remains committed to finding a solution based on bizonal bicommunal federation with a single nationality, single sovereignty and single international personality.

    Kyprianou said the reunification of the island is the only possible solution and we want to work very hard to achieve that. Of course we need to have response from the other side on this respect and we would like to see more constructive reaction from the Turkish and the Turkish Cypriot side.

    The Cypriot FM said that he referred to the proposals made recently by the President of the Republic Demetris Christofias.

    Kyprianou expressed the view that the proposals can help boost the negotiations, can give a way forward, expedite them, help on a substance but also at the same time give the possibility to move forward Turkeys EU accession process.

    He recalled that Cyprus supports Turkeys accession to the EU, provided that Ankara fulfills its obligations and implements its commitments. We do not believe that any country, small or big, should have preferential treatment and there can be no discounts in this process. Failure in fulfilling the obligations, he added, does not only affect the final outcome, the actual accession but it is affecting also the process itself.

    He also said the two discussed regional issues, the Middle East peace process and the situation in Gaza.

    On his part, the Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Steven Vanackere referred to his countrys good relations with Cyprus, adding that around 25.000 Belgians visit Cyprus annually.

    He expressed his gratitude to Kyprianou for Cyprus support of the priorities of the Belgian Presidency. The priorities program of the Belgian presidency, he said, is very much shared by the different countries in the EU and is very close to things that matter for ordinary people in the EU, such as the economic recovery, creating more jobs for the people, the climate change issue and other things that influence the life of ordinary people like asylum, migration.

    Referring to EU enlargement, he said this is also one of these priorities. Vanackere said the Belgian presidency wants to make sure that all the candidate countries continue to hear in the EU not a message of enlargement fatigue, not a message of saying we want to stop the process but instead a full conviction that every country that is willing to do the effort, that is willing to go the road, that is willing to get closer to the acquis communautaire, has a place in the EU.

    The Belgian FM said that the Belgian Presidency wants to be honest when it comes to the enlargement issue and we want to be in a situation in which all the stakeholders, including Cyprus, know exactly what we are doing and how we are going forward.

    The idea is that the European train should not stop, he remarked, that we should be able to give a clear message in favor of change towards the good direction for each and every of these candidate countries.

    The Belgian FM also said they discussed progress in talks that should lead to a Cyprus settlement. He said that the proposals of President Christofias is an element which should be taken into account, very interesting and clear sign that the willingness to go forward is still present. We agree that a settlement should be based on the logic which is already prepared and established by the UN, he said, adding that although progress has been made, and there is still a lot of work that has to be done we want to encourage the talks in order to have more progress.

    Asked whether by saying the train should not stop, he refers to Turkeys accession process, the Belgian FM said he refers to all the candidate countries. I think that Croatia is almost at the end station, we have just started with Iceland, in fact all the Balkan countries will still aspire, I am also talking about Turkey and I make no exception.

    The Belgian presidency has a logic of being very much based on merit logic so we insist on the fact that each candidate country has its own future in its own hands by establishing progress within itself. We want to encourage each candidate country to continue in the process. Each country is in a specific situation but without exception and without having neither a situation in which some country will be treated more severely nor a situation where some country will be treated with some kind of preference.

    To a question if Turkey can join with an unresolved Cyprus problem, the Belgian FM noted that unresolved problems keep people from moving forward. We need to go to resolved problems but at the same time we need to understand that no issue is solved with one big bang.

    Most of the time and especially in politics, problems are solved by a step by step approach and by keeping the train moving. So of course you have to have your eyes on the end solution, its very important to know where you are heading but at the same time having progress in each and every day is a way to finally getting your destination, he pointed out.

    I want during the six months of my responsibility to make sure that the train moves in the right direction, he concluded.


    President of the House of Representatives Marios Garoyian pointed out on Thursday that it was time to put Turkey back on the dock and bring the international community before its responsibilities regarding its continuing tolerance of the invasion and occupation of Cyprus, adding that Cyprus should furthermore strengthen its ties with Israel.

    He added that the Turkish side had no intention to reach a bizonal bicommunal federation settlement, and that with this knowledge the Greek Cypriot side should revise its strategy and policy, in order to effectively tackle Turkey`s intransigence and plans to place Cyprus under its permanent control.

    Opening the meeting of overseas Cypriot organisation PSEKA, Garoyian said ``Greece and Cyprus must be at the ready and utilise the various changes in the international environment, to defend their national interests.``

    Garoyian also said he was in favour of strengthening relations between Cyprus and Israel, without abandoning traditional friends and allies in the Arab world, noting that in an ever changing world, every country must look out for its own vital interests.


    All 17 mosques, with the exception of Omerieh mosque in Nicosia, which are located in the southern government controlled part of Cyprus, will be restored by the end of 2011, according to the Department of Antiquities.

    The Republic of Cyprus has spent over three million euro between 1975 (a year after the Turkish invasion of the island) and 2009 to maintain and restore the 17 mosques, which have been declared ancient monuments.

    Cyprus long history is reflected in its monuments. A significant part of this history relates to coexistence between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and it is mirrored in the Moslem monuments, most of which were Christian churches converted into mosques.

    The Republic of Cyprus through the Department of Antiquities tries to keep intact the islands religious heritage, with respect to monuments and holy sites. Seventeen mosques in the southern government controlled areas of Cyprus have been declared Ancient Monuments, which means that the state and the owner in this case is the Evkaf - jointly undertake the responsibility to restore and maintain the mosques.


    The European Commission notes that it is particularly sensitive to matters that concern the protection of the environment and has already started looking into press reports concerning plans for land allocation in the Karpas peninsula for the construction of conference centres and university facilities.

    ``The wider area of Karpas (the northeastern tip of Cyprus) presents unique environmental wealth with rare flora and fauna. Potential building construction is likely to affect the Special Protection Areas of the peninsula which could be included in the Natura 2000 programme, following the comprehensive settlement and reunification of the island,`` the Commission says.

    It adds that it is ``particularly sensitive to matters that concern the protection of the environment`` and that ``in July, a group of experts from Directorate General Environment came to Cyprus and met with Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot environmental organisations.``

    ``Also, in the recent past, informative meetings had been organised for matters relating to the Natura 2000 programme with Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots,`` it says. The Commission notes that, ``in relation to the press publications, the European Commission had already started looking into the matter even before it made the headlines.``

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