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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 07-02-23
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 PACE PRESIDENT INTERVIEW - CNAPresident of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Renee van der Linden has called on the leaders of both communities in Cyprus to begin contacts in order to build confidence, a move he has described very important in order to push forward the solution process.
In an interview with CNA at the end of his visit here, van der Linden said that when the Cyprus issue is solved, the island should become demilitarized and called upon the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot parties to take common measures of real progress.
Van der Linden expressed the view that the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities have good intentions, but what is necessary is to build trust between them.
I would like to see that the leaders meet each other regularly also in an informal atmosphere, to build trust between them, he said.
The PACE President added that the President of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat have both good intentions but to my mind, speaking together, meeting each other is an important element in coming to a common approach.
Invited to elaborate and explain a statement he made yesterday that time is running out regarding the Cyprus issue, he noted that time is not running in favor of the efforts to solve the issue.
If you want to reach a solution and I believe that you do, and you are dealing with the problem for so many years, then you cannot wait any longer, he said, pointing out that the longer you wait, the more difficult the solution should be. Why wait if you have a common goal?
Each process, he added, needs encouragement and a push so that people believe that all goes to the right direction.
In his interview with CNA, van der Linden said that there is lack of confidence between both communities in Cyprus and expressed the wish that the political leaders take bold measures.
He said that the current situation in Cyprus is due to the lack of trust. I would like to see the political leadership taking bold measures. They have taken it in the past and tried it in the past, but due to this lack of trust it is difficult to take bold measures.
The President of PACE noted that apart from the efforts between the two communities in Cyprus, external elements also play a role and expressed hope that the Council of Europe, the EU, and the UN can play a positive role in brining a final solution.
Van der Linden referred to the crossings between the Turkish occupied areas and the government controlled areas that begun in 2003.
Referring to the Ledra street crossing point, which is not open yet due to security concerns raised by the government of Cyprus, van der Linden said that he received assurances from the Turkish Cypriot leadership that the Turkish army would no longer be visible by the people crossing the area.
I understand the concern of the government of Cyprus, but this can be solved in an easy way. As far as I am informed, the military will no longer be visible when people cross the Ledra street, there will be no military patrols of course, he said.
Replying to questions, van der Linden added that the Turkish Cypriot leadership has reassured me that there will be no military patrol, military posts will be at a certain distance of the Ledra street and if it is necessary that they have to cross one or two times a day with military cars there must be something to solve this, they could cross in the night.
These are practical things to be solved. It cannot be an argument to wait any longer to open this street. It is important from a symbolic point of view and people look forward to the opening of the street, he continued.
But van der Linden also referred to the need for a demilitarization of Cyprus.
For sure, a reunified island must be demilitarized but which speed and schedule this will have, is a question of Nicosia and the two communities.
He reiterated that through trust, concerns and doubts could be lifted regarding the demilitarization of Cyprus.
Regarding demilitarization I would like to say the following. Also this case shows that trust is the most important thing. If you trust each other, if you reassure that you have an agreement that everybody sticks to, the agreement delivers and according to the agreement you can also solve this problem, he pointed out.
He expressed the wish that the Cypriot politicians who meet regularly at Ledra Palace take certain measures that would lead to progress.
If political parties and politicians stick serious that they want to reunify the island, and they want to make real progress then they need to come up with concrete steps, he said.
Elaborating on this statement, van der Linden said that such steps are turning the buffer zone from a symbol of division into a zone of cooperation, open the Ledra street, create an atmosphere of cooperation between the Universities.
Emphasizing the need for cooperation between the universities of Cyprus and the so-called universities in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus, he said that some universities in the occupied part of Cyprus should start participating in the Bologna process.
The Bologna Declaration of June 1999 has put in motion a series of reforms needed for the European Higher Education.
Accept starting with one or two universities in the north being part of the Bologna process. Bring together students, cultural events with the participation of both sides. Bring together the directors of the Universities, he said.
PACE President added that if the formal argument of one state will be used in all, on the one hand I understand this point, but if it is an obstacle for the human interest and contacts, then it is not helpful for the process as a whole.
He expressed his conviction that every process needs the full support of society, adding that ``there must be a strong will at the same time of political leaders and parties to take bold measures.
Van der Linden referred to the meetings he held in Ledra Palace with the Mayor of Nicosia and the so-called mayor of occupied Nicosia, saying that ``they can show to the citizens of Nicosia that working together is worthwhile, that is trust between the two responsible authorities can come up with common projects.
I believe that in life it is important that leaders, whether in the local, national or international level, have to show a good example and this is shown by the two mayors, he said.
Van der Linden described his visit to Cyprus already a success even before arriving here.
Concluding his statements, he expressed the belief that in the various levels, on the level of NGO, the political parties, but also the good example of the two mayors in Nicosia, showed that working together brings a lot of advantages to all of us, all of you.
 CYPRIOT PRESIDENT PATRICK DEVEDJIANCyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos said that the Greek Cypriot side desires a functional and viable solution to the Cyprus problem as soon as possible.
Speaking during a ceremony at the Presidential Palace where he decorated French Parliamentarian and member of the Cyprus France Friendship Group Patrick Devedjian, Papadopoulos underlined that ``the solution should be consistent with the European values and principles, which would allow a united Cyprus to upgrade its effective participation in the European institutions as an equal, credible and creative partner.``
``A solution which would safeguard the real reunification of Cyprus, the reunification of the land, the society, the economy and the institutions,`` the President added.
Papadopoulos decorated Patrick Devedjian with the Grand Collar of the Order of Makarios III of the Republic of Cyprus. He described Devedjian as ``true friend of Cyprus and supporter of Cyprus` accession course in the EU``.
``His well known and firm support for Cyprus in France has earned him the love and esteem of the people of Cyprus, who know how to judge and appreciate friends who prove their consistency when their support is needed,`` Papadopoulos said.
 CYPRIOT FM TRADE TURKISH OCCUPIED NORTHThe Republic of Cyprus will begin negotiations with the German Presidency of the EU concerning direct trade with the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus.
Cypriot Foreign Minister George Lillikas, speaking to journalists on the issue of direct trade between the EU and the Turkish occupied north and whether the German EU Presidencys proposals will lead to secessionist trends, said ``we are committed, and the German Presidency too, not to make any statements -during our consultations- about what we are talking.``
Consultations have taken place and we have arranged new consultations with the German Presidency and, while they are going on`` Lillikas added.
However, the Cypriot FM said that the government is ready to work either for the Regulation or for any other ideas or proposals originated by anyone, under only one condition: that they will be directed and targeting the economic integration and reunification of Cyprus.``
 FM INAUGURATION EICY PROGRAMMECypriot Foreign Minister George Lillikas inaugurated the Central Body for Citizen Information regarding European projects which is a new tool of information and guidance for the Cyprus citizen as regards the EU and its financing programmes.
Addressing the ceremony, Lillikas observed that Cypriot businesspeople, Non Governmental Organizations, farmers, researchers and students can be informed directly through the European Institute of Cyprus, on new programmes in fields such as environment, energy, education, culture and research so to timely fill their applications.
``This central body aspires to offer guidance to the Cypriot citizen within the labyrinth of the communitys procedures and processes in order to find the appropriate programme for the financing of either individual initiatives or in collaboration with persons, organizations or social teams of other member states of the Union,`` Lilikas added.
The Central Body will offer its services through the revamped portal of the EIC www.eicy.eu which provides a digital data bank fully updated with facts and figures on the programmes and initiative to be exploited. At the same time, the EIC in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other interested bodies, will study of ways for the development of the European Neighborhood Policy that the EU has outlined for neighbouring countries of the Mediterranean, Eastern Europe and extending to Central Asia.
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