|Monday, 20 May 2013|
Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 12-05-24
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 Turkey trying to distort the past, says Government SpokesmanTurkey continues to try to cover its negative policy on Cyprus, distorting the past, said Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou, replying to remarks by Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
The Spokesman also said UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on the Cyprus problem, Alexander Downer`s remark on Wednesday in New York that lot more has been achieved than what Cyprus' public opinion understands and that the UN does not wish to lose all that has been achieved, refers to the Turkish Cypriot side which avoids commitments and backs away from convergences, trying to eradicate the foundation of the negotiations.
Stephanou also said that President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias' proposal about Famagusta provides for motives for all interested parties and would be mutually beneficial.
Speaking to reporters, Stephanou said that "Turkey continues to cover its negative policy on Cyprus, by maintaining the problem of the illegal occupation, violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus and distorting the past. This is what Mr. Davutoglu tries to do with his references to the 2004 referendum and the Anan Plan".
Stephanou pointed out that the two communities in 2004 were invited to decide separately, in simultaneous referenda, about a plan which was not the result of a mutual agreement but the result of arbitration and provided that if it was not agreed approved, it would have been declared as ‘null and void'. The international community", he added, respected, respects and accepts the right of the people of Cyprus to decide for their future, something which Turkey does not accept and rejects.
The Government Spokesman said it would be better for Turkey, instead of returning to the past aiming at covering its negative policy and cause a standstill, to start working for a solution in the Cyprus problem that will support the UN resolutions on Cyprus, which it insists on respecting and implementing.
The international community, he added, should point this out to Turkey constantly and exert pressure to change its negative stance and open the road to a solution.
He pointed out that Turkey should respect the agreed procedure for a solution, without arbitration and strict deadlines and an agreement which should be placed before the two communities in separate but simultaneous referenda.
Invited to comment on Downer's comments that President Christofias' proposal on Famagusta is on the table, Stephanou said that "the President of the Republic has tabled again the issue of Famagusta, as it was provided in the proposal that he had submitted in 2010".
The proposal, he added, is based on UN resolutions that concern Famagusta and especially transferring the fenced off area of Famagusta to the UN, to allow for the necessary actions to take place and its lawful residents to return to the area.
Unfortunately, he said, "Turkey rejected the proposal, in the framework of its negative policy on Cyprus".
Regarding the issue of a multilateral conference, Stephanos Stephanou said that the UN will be the ones to decide when such a conference can take place.
He said that the UN Security Council Resolution 2026 on the renewal of the mandate of UNFICYP, approved in December 2011, clearly notes that a multilateral conference could convene when and only there is an agreement on the internal aspects of the problem, because the conference will deal with the external aspects of the Cyprus problem. This is the position of the Republic of Cyprus on the matter".
Cyprus has been divided since the Turkish invasion in the summer of 1974. Turkey since then occupies 37% of Cyprus' territory, situated in the north.
Peace talks are underway to find a negotiated settlement that will reunite the country, under a federal roof.
 President pledges probe on banking exposure to Greek debtCyprus President Demetris Christofias pledged the government will probe into the mistakes that lead to the excessive exposure of the Cypriot banks to the Greek sovereign debt, as Cypriot employers call for a new economic model in Cyprus.
Addressing the annual general assembly of the Employers and Industrialists Federation, Christofias outlined the government`s policy at the backdrop of the global financial crisis which affected severely the Cypriot economy, noting that the government aims at ``solving the problems created from the excessive exposure of the Cypriot banks to Greece to probe into mistakes and omissions which lead to this exposure, with the primary target to avoid such mistakes in the future.``
Stress tests conducted by the European Banking Authority have showed that the Cypriot banks, Bank of Cyprus and Laiki Bank should secure an additional capital of 3.57 billion euro following the haircut of the Greek sovereign debt. The government has decided to underwrite a capital issue of 1.8 billion euro by Laiki which was affected the most by the Greek debt haircut.
In speech delivered by Finance Minister Vassos Sharly, Christofias added that the government aims at a further fiscal consolidation of the public finances with a socially just way and in consultation with the social partners ``so to limit the divergences observed in the (fiscal) targets set.``
Cyprus needs to take additional consolidation measures as figures for the first quarter show a divergence of 0.9% GDP from the government target for a 2.5% budget deficit for 2012.
Furthermore, referring to the prospects for Cyprus following the discovery of natural gas deposits in its Exclusive Economic Zone, Christofias said the government aims to alter is energy mix with the incorporation of natural gas as a means of power generation as well to render Cyprus as an regional energy hub.
He noted however that the government does not neglect on traditional sectors of the economy such as tourism and industry.
OEB Chairman Philios Zahariades called for a new economic model aiming at growth on the basis of entrepreneurship, outwardness and competitiveness.
Outlining the grim prospects of the economy, such as the contraction of the economy, Cyprus` exclusion from international markets, which in combination with the capital enhancing efforts by Cypriot banks following the Greek debt haircut, lead to high interest rates, Zachariades called for a new growth model on the basis of entrepreneurship, outwardness and competitiveness.
``We believe to entrepreneurship as the main driver for the growth of the economy, employment and the creation of wealth, which would enable us to face the social problems,`` he said.
OEB Chairman noted ``we believe in outwardness because we are in world where borders are less significant than in the past, in a large European market, in a world with increasing free financial transactions,`` adding ``we believe in competitiveness because in a global economy only competitive countries will continue to develop.``.
``Cyprus and its citizens witness an unprecedented business drought a nightmarish unemployment a stressful financial pressure and an uncertain future,`` he said.
Zachariades concluded by saying that ``the citizens, businesspeople and workers alike, rest all their hopes to the politicians because it is they with their decisions who can invert the situation of the economy and to bring growth, business activity, employment and hope in the country.``
Addressing the assembly, Minister of Labour and Social Insurance Sotiroula Haralambous said the Ministry is focused on ensuring a dignified job in healthy and safe conditions for every citizen.
Referring to unemployment Haralambous said the Ministry despite the tight public finances sought to support employment with a series of schemes, providing incentives to businesses for maintaining the job positions and hiring unemployed persons.
``Approximately nine thousand persons found employment through these schemes and that was achieved with the response of the business world,`` Haralambous noted.
Noting that the financial crisis revealed and continues to reveal the weaknesses of the Cypriot labour market structure, Haralambous was critical of the practice by Cypriot companies to hire third-country nationals and unskilled workers from the EU member-states rather than Cypriot personnel.
``We need to make our introspection, to see the crisis as a challenge for rectifying the incongruities,`` she concluded.
On its part, Phidias Pilides, Chairman of the Cypriot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), stressed that the state should address with great care the acute problems of the business world and the market and should assist the Cypriot businesses to weather the crisis.
``We are deeply concerned for the bad course of the economy but also for its estimated bleak prospects,`` he added.
He recalled the CCCI`s executive committee`s call on the government the parliament for measures based on four pillars and namely, fiscal consolidation, support to the businesses and growth, the improvement of liquidity and borrowing rates as well as reforms aiming at modernizing the country`s economic model.
In his address, President of the Turkish Cypriot Businessmen's Association, Metin Shadi, said that if a just and immediate solution for the sake of all the Cypriots can not be immediately achieved, then both sides should sign an official declaration to proclaim what they have agreed up to now, in order to infuse trust and confidence to Cypriots.
``Even if failing to do all that, we suggest that Maras –Varosha must be opened for rehabilitation of its owners, you may say as a part of goodwill or give and take basis, but certainly as a confidence building measure, which in result will generate an economic activity enhancing project that we need in these economically hard times``, he added.
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