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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-02-02

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Cyprus is ready to handle massive evacuation and temporary accommodation for people due to the situation in Egypt, said Wednesday Interior Minister Neoclis Sylikiotis.

    Speaking to CNA, Sylikiotis said that his Ministry in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Coordinating Committee responsible for handling emergency situations, are trying to provide facilities to European citizens and third country nationals to return home, using Cyprus as transit point.

    He explained that Cyprus was tested in the past with great success, in 2006 crisis in Lebanon.

    Cyprus is now better prepared than in 2006 with better infrastructure in Civil Defense issues and general procedures, he said.

    Sylikiotis added that so far 321 people have passed through Larnaca airport to travel to other countries, while some are hosted in Cyprus until their return to their home countries, with the responsibility of their diplomatic missions.

    The Minister also explained that Cyprus is in direct contact with the European Union and will ask for EU financial and other support if necessary.

    He added that EU support will also be necessary in case of mass refugee waves from Egypt, reiterating Cyprus request for more equal distribution of refugees across EU member-states.

    Meanwhile, as the political situation in Egypt continues to be volatile, three more Cypriot families, comprising 12 persons residing in Egypt, have expressed their intention to be repatriated if things take a turn for the worse.

    Andreas Zenonos, head of consular affairs at the Foreign Ministry, told CNA on Wednesday that Cypriot embassy officials in Cairo would contact the families concerned.

    He expressed the readiness of the embassy to provide them with any information or help needed in case they finally decide to return to Cyprus.

    Zenonos said that the embassy of Cyprus in Cairo had also been contacted by a UN official who was on holidays in Egypt with his family, asking for help to come back to the island.

    He said that 14 Cypriots and two foreign nationals living in Cyprus returned yesterday, via Athens, to Larnaka Airport from Egypt where they were, while another 8 Cypriots decided to stay in Athens.

    He noted that the travel advice issued by the Foreign Ministry asking those wishing to travel to Egypt not to do so is still valid, since the situation remains critical.

    Zenonos clarified that the Cypriot embassy in Cairo is operating normally and is at the disposal of Cypriots in Egypt for any information or help they might need.

    He also said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in contact with the Cyprus embassy in Cairo to better manage the whole situation.

    In the past few days Cyprus has received, as it has done on previous occasions during regional conflicts, foreign national who had fled war zones.


    The President and the Government of Panama have expressed their sincere wish for a prompt solution of the Cyprus problem for the sake of all Cypriots and peace, according to the relevant United Nations resolutions.

    Speaking at a formal ceremony at the Presidential Palace during which she presented her credentials to Cyprus President Demetris Christofias, the new Ambassador of the Republic of Panama to Cyprus, stationed in Athens, Felicia Dushka Papadimitriu B said that ``we hope to foster further collaboration between our countries in many areas like education, culture, science, the environment, trade, tourism, arts, technology, seamanship and sports, through different means, such as scholarships and exchange programs in these fields.``

    She noted that ``since Panama is a maritime nation, as Cyprus, we give high priority to all merchant marine related issues, since we understand as well the importance of this industry for the international commerce. Therefore, we greatly value our merchant marine fleet and the trust that the international shipping community has honoured our flag with.``

    On his part, President Christofias referred to the ongoing UN-led negotiations which started in September 2008, aiming to solve the Cyprus problem, noting that ``unfortunately, during these two-and-a-half years, many of the proposals submitted by the Turkish Cypriot leadership, in full cooperation with Ankara, were not consistent with the agreed basis.`` ``Despite some important convergences on three of the seven negotiating chapters (Governance and Power-Sharing, European Matters and the Economy), serious divergences remain, while some chapters have barely been touched. In July 2010, we proposed a package in an effort to speed up the process, including the linkage of interrelated chapters (Property, Territory and Settlers). Unfortunately, this was rejected by the Turkish side,`` he noted.


    Cypriot Finance Minister Charilaos Stavrakis said the government follows a responsible financial policy which is endorsed by the European Commission, warning that in the coming months Cyprus may face ``challenges and difficulties.``

    Speaking after a meeting of the Financial Advisory Committee, composed of former Finance Ministers, the Central Bank Governor, Ministers of Commerce and Labour, as well as trade unions, Stavrakis said he outlined the economy`s improved fiscal indices, as a result of the acceleration of the economy and government measures.

    On January 26 the European Commission announced that Cyprus has ``taken action representing adequate progress towards the correction of the excessive deficit within the time limits set by the Council.`` adding that ``no further steps in the excessive deficit procedure are needed at present.``

    Cyprus` 2010 budget deficit is expected to close with 5.3% below the 6% of GDP target set by the Commission, whereas the 2011 deficit is projected to drop further below 4% of GDP as opposed to the 4.5% target set by the Commission. The fiscal correction came as a result of increased growth rate at the fourth quarter of 2010, cuts in state expenditure, as well as fiscal measures. The government aims at further reducing the deficit below 2.5% in 2012, whereas the Commission target is a deficit below the 3% reference value.

    On his part, Central Bank Governor Athanasios Orphanides called for significant steps within the next two months to avert or to limit further the downgrading of the Cypriot economy by rating agencies. He also called for concrete steps that would address Cyprus structural problems such as the pension scheme.


    Cyprus ranks first among European countries in employing foreign nationals in its football clubs, as a ratio to local players, a recent survey by the Professional Football Players Observatory concludes.

    According to a press release issued by the Pancyprian Footballers Association, the PFPO survey shows that 72,3% of the players competing in Cypriot teams are foreign nationals. Players of Cypriot teams also have the highest age average in Europe, with the mean age standing at 28,02 years.

    The findings of the survey, titled Demographic study of footballers in Europe are based on a census of 13.108 footballers, currently playing for 534 clubs in 36 top division leagues of UEFA member national associations.

    According to PFA, the study confirms the Associations concerns on the future of football players in Cyprus and of the course of football in general.

    Findings also show that England follows Cyprus in the second place, with 58,4% of its players being foreign nationals. It is noted that 61% of the latter are international players.

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