|Wednesday, 22 January 2020|
Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 07-05-16
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 PAPADOPOULOS - PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONSCyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has expressed his readiness to stand for re-election in Februarys presidential elections, provided that the parties that support the government approve his candidacy, the three main political parties that back the government have announced.
The announcement came after a lunch on Tuesday, hosted by the President, during which all participating parties discussed issues pertaining to the 2008 presidential elections.
A written statement, issued by the General Secretary of the left-wing AKEL party Demetris Christofias, the governments main partner, said that President Papadopoulos has expressed his readiness to seek re-election, provided that the parties that cooperate with the government endorse his candidacy.
Christofias also said that it was decided that the parties assess the pre-election programme relating to the question of Cyprus and domestic issues.
AKEL, he added, wishes to see this cooperation continue and will work towards this direction without prejudging any candidacy. Party organs will meet to decide on the matter and this will culminate at the party congress.
The leader of the Democratic Party (DIKO) Marios Karoyan, which Papadopoulos headed for the past few years, welcomed the Presidents readiness to seek re-election as a positive development.
He said the party collective organs will meet in due course to take their final decision on the matter, adding that DIKO believes that so far most of the programme of governance, agreed by the three parties when they backed Papadopoulos in 2003, has already been achieved.
This, he said, is a solid foundation to continue the cooperation among the parties.
The Social Democrats Movement EDEK, headed by Yiannakis Omirou, said in a statement that President Papadopoulos and the leaders of all three political parties that support the government want to continue the existing cooperation for the next five years (the presidents term in office).
Following the recent decision by the Political Bureau of EDEK to suggest to the party Central Committee to support Papadopoulos candidacy, in the forthcoming elections, we shall wait for the official announcement of his candidacy, the statement added.
The Secretary General of the Environmentalist Movement George Perdikis, which has afforded support to the government of President Papadopoulos, in his remarks on developments concerning the presidential elections, said that he was not upset that the Movement was not invited to the lunch hosted by Papadopoulos.
However I believe that it was wrong on their part to embark on such a process, it is their problem and let them sort it out by themselves. As far as we are concerned, everything is open with regard to possible cooperation for the elections, he said on Tuesday.
Presidential elections are to take place in February next year. So far only one person, former minister of agriculture, Kostas Themistocleous has officially announced his candidacy but it is widely expected that former foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides will follow suit.
 MERKEL - TURKISH-OCCUPIED CHURCHESEuropean Union current president, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, has stressed that the Union cannot turn a blind eye to the destruction of churches and other religious sites in the northern, Turkish occupied, part of Cyprus. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pettering echoed her comments, saying that EU principles and values provide for respect of freedom, justice, peace and solidarity, while the head of the Cyprus church Archbishop Chrysostomos II welcomed their position on the pillage of Greek Orthodox churches, ongoing since the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus northern areas.
Speaking at a press conference, after a meeting of the three monotheistic religions (Christian, Islam, Judaism) here Tuesday, Merkel said that everybody agrees that peoples dignity must not be violated. We cannot turn a blind eye to the destruction of churches or other religious sites in some countries, as we see it happening in the northern part of Cyprus, she said, pointing out that such meetings as the one on Tuesday must continue. She said all factors should be taken into consideration, given the principles on which the EU has been founded, and said religion is one such factor that is important for society.
Barroso pointed out that the principle of human dignity is at the core of EU values and recalled the Berlin declaration by the 27 EU leaders which stipulates exactly that the EU is a Union of values and human dignity governs all common values within Europe, freedom, justice, peace and solidarity. He said the next such meeting will take place in the first half of 2008 under the Slovenian EU presidency. European Parliament President described as very important Tuesdays religious meeting.
 CYPRUS - NATURAL GASThe government is set to invite tenders to bid for the construction of a land terminal in Cyprus to provide the country with natural gas, in an effort to meet its obligations to the European Union, which it joined in May 2004. Speaking after a ministerial committee meeting on the matter, the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Antonis Michaelides aid the land terminal is expected to be ready in about seven years from now. The three units which the Cyprus Electricity Authority (AHK) now operates using diesel or crude oil are expected to be converted to receive natural gas by 2009 when the fourth unit will be delivered, he said, warning of millions of pounds of losses if these units continue to operate for five or six years on traditional fuel.
The government disagrees with the Electricity Authority on the matter. We have to, through tenders, give the opportunity to anybody who feels they can provide our market with natural gas as early as possible to submit his proposal and we shall decide accordingly, the minister said. The ministerial committee believes that we have to proceed with all the necessary ground work to construct the land terminal for natural gas but at the same time to see if we can secure the supply of natural gas through a floating unit, since the land terminal is not expected to be ready before 2014-2015, he explained.
Responding to questions, he said AHK should come out in the open and say that the land terminal can be constructed earlier, if it believes this is so, and it should also explain how this can be done. The minister said that the timeframe for the construction of the land terminal for natural gas is the reasonable assessment reached by experts in this field and government advisors who have taken all factors into consideration.
 CYPRUS - EUROZONEEuropean Union Commissioner for economic and monetary affairs Joaquin Almunia is expected to announce on Wednesday that Cyprus is eligible to join the eurozone in January 2008. The matter was discussed last week at a special meeting of EU technocrats.
The Commission draft proposal to EU finance ministers points out that Cyprus meets the criteria relating to fiscal deficit, public debt, inflation, long-term interest rates and a two-year stay in ERM. The European Central Bank will also submit a proposal on Cyprus entry into the eurozone and both documents will be presented to EU finance ministers on June 5 and then for a political decision on the matter at the EU summit on June 21-22.
Public deficit stood at 1,5 per cent of the GDP in 2006, while the ceiling in the EU is 3 per cent. Public debt in 2006 in Cyprus was 65,3 per cent of the GDP with a downward trend, which is expected to continue in 2007. EU regulations stipulate that public debt must not exceed 60 per cent of the GDP. According to EU criteria, inflation must not be higher than 1,5 per cent from the average of the top third better figures in the EU. Inflation in Cyprus stands at 2 per cent and its criterion for entry to the eurozone is 3 per cent.
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