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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 07-05-21

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The government has announced measures to further improve economic development and cooperation between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, something that could boost the local economy and help the reunification of the country.

    The first project, approved by the Cabinet, concerns ways to help set up small ventures between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, in specific selected regions, for the period 2007-2013, with grants totaling seven million euros. A ceiling of 200,000 euro has been set for each selected small business.

    The second project provides grants to businesses, in specific selected areas, to upgrade the technology of ventures between the two communities, develop trade and the manufacturing of agricultural products with grants amounting to 27 million euros, for the period of 2007-2013. A ceiling of 500,000 euro has been set for each selected business.

    Finance Minister Michalis Sarris and Director of the Presidents Diplomatic Office Tasos Tzionis announced the measures at a press conference at the Finance Minstry on Monday and expressed hope that Turkish Cypriots will respond and benefit from these measures.

    In his remarks, Tzionis rejected claims that Turkish Cypriots are isolated and that there is an economic war between the two communities, noting that Turkish Cypriots have fallen into a self-isolation due to the policy of the Turkish Cypriot leadership, adding that they must decide that they need to cooperate with Greek Cypriots.

    We urge the Turkish Cypriots to cooperate with Greek Cypriots to benefit the reunification of our economy, which eventually will help Cyprus reunification, Tzionis added.

    To implement the two projects, a Planning Committee will be set up, to be chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Finance Ministry, which will examine applications, while an advisory committee will be set up, comprising two members, to be appointed by the Planning Committee, preferably two Greek Cypriots and two Turkish Cypriots.

    Applications must be submitted by 30 September 2008. Businesses seeking grants for investment will be examined and approved by the end of 2008.

    Finance Minister Sarris assured that his ministry will examine the applications quickly and will be flexible, noting that these projects are an effort to strengthen the economic and trade relations between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots through two generous programmes with serious incentives which we hope will promote joint ventures and will be the prelude to the economic and territorial reunification of Cyprus, Sarris added.

    According to Tzionis, these measures are part of an overall package of measures which include the establishing of a fund to finance projects for civil society (i.e. cooperation between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot NGOs) with the amount of 2 million euros and will be presented by the Interior Minister. Two more regulations have been approved to allow for the trade of honey and fish among the products which can move from the occupied areas to the free areas of the Republic through the Green Line Regulation and to help set up a company to distribute Turkish Cypriot products.

    All these in response to the accusation that the Cyprus government is not interested in the Green Line regulation, said Tzionis.

    Sarris noted that the government prepared the plans in the hope that there will be interest, adding that if for political reasons Turkish Cypriots are not allowed to make use of them, then that is another issue.

    He said our position is that the infrastructure of the Republic of Cyprus is always at the disposal of the Turkish Cypriots. The economic development of the Turkish occupied areas is something which we pursue and we are interested in merging the two economies.

    We hope that the Turkish Cypriots will want to make use of these projects and we have reasons to believe that they will.We encourage economic activity between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. The Turkish Cypriots talk about isolation. Their self-isolation is the result of their own actions and policies, he added. Answering questions, Tzionis said Turkish Cypriot leader advisor Rashid Pertev has rejected government measures, acting on the basis of some reports which were inaccurate.

    Sarris said that trade through the Green Line regulation is a lot less than anticipated, around 400 thousand euros per month, with 300 thousand euros coming from Turkish Cypriot products and only 100 thousand from Greek Cypriot products.

    We estimate, on an annual basis, that the income in the occupied areas from the free areas comes to 100 million pounds per year, which amounts to 15% of the GDP of the occupied areas, he added.

    Tzionis concluded by saying that the restrictions which were imposed by the Turkish occupation regime in the movement of goods from the free areas to the occupied north should be lifted.

    Cyprus, which joined the EU on May 1, 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.


    Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, Archbishop Demetrios, will visit Cyprus July 2-6, at the invitation of Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos. During his visit he will inaugurate a vocational training seminar for 22 teachers at Greek schools overseas.

    Demetrios will also attend a ceremony during which two veteran Greek American politicians, former Congressman John Bradimas and former senator Paul Sarbanes, will be decorated by President Papadopoulos. He will also attend a concert at the Presidential Palace, to be given by the Metropolitan Archbishopric youth choir.

    This is the second official visit of Archbishop Demetrios to Cyprus during a two-year period.

    During his stay on the island, Demetrios will also meet among others with Archbishop of Cyprus Christostomos II, the members of the Holy Synod of the Church of Cyprus and Education Minister Akis Kleanthous.

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