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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 07-06-04

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Latvian President Vaira Vike Freiberga said on Monday that her country fully understands the complexity of the Cyprus problem and pointed out that this question would have to be resolved before Turkey could hope to join the European Union.

    Speaking after talks in Nicosia with Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos, Freiberga said it was now a matter of returning to negotiations and pointed out that Latvia encourages both sides to continue negotiations.

    Replying to questions regarding the introduction of the euro, President Papadopoulos said he could not offer ``any recipe to anybody,`` noting that ``each country has to find its own path.``

    ``Madame President has congratulated us on our achievement. Believe me we have taken great efforts in Cyprus to avoid any pitfalls which have been appearing in other countries that have introduced the euro. I hope that soon enough Latvia will also control its rate of inflation with the growth in your economy, which is the highest in Europe, I think you are well on the path of turning to the euro, but you know best,`` he said.

    Asked about the Cyprus problem, Freiberga said ``we fully understand the complexity of the situation and the details of how it developed historically.``

    Referring to the Annan plan, a UN proposed solution plan rejected by the Greek Cypriots for failing to lead to reunification, Freiberga said this plan ``failed and it is a matter of returning to negotiations.``

    ``We would very much encourage both sides to continue negotiations. We feel that this question should ultimately be resolved and it would certainly be an issue if Turkey continues its accession talks with the EU. Of course, it is a question that will have to be resolved before Turkey can hope ever to become a member of the EU,`` she added.

    Freiberga said she was honoured to have been received by her Cypriot counterpart. ``It is for us in Latvia a symbolic and an historic occasion,`` she added.

    She pointed out that ``we are looking forward to a community of nations, which we have joined on our own free will.``

    ``We hope to follow the example of Cyprus, which has really been successful in its movement towards the common currency, the Eurozone, and we will very much, of course, be making efforts in that same direction,`` she added.

    Asked in which fields Cyprus and Latvia could cooperate within the EU, Freiberga said ``one of the areas which has been a contributor to the successful Cypriot economy is banking.``

    ``In Latvia as well, the banking sector has been a significant contributor to the overall economic growth. So, on this state visit to Cyprus I am accompanied by the Governor of the Central Bank of Latvia and by a number of bankers who are interested in working towards possibly common projects,`` she added.

    Freiberga noted that ``we also have a delegation of businessmen accompanying the President of Latvia, who come a variety of sectors.``

    ``We have had a growth of our economic relationships since joining the EU. It was insignificant before. It is now starting and we would like to see it grow and develop,`` she added.

    The Latvian President pointed out that ``we have common interests within the EU, such as the importance accorded by both countries to education,`` adding that ``education has been set as one of the main goals as driving the future development of Latvia and we know and we see that it is much the same in Cyprus.``

    ``We are looking forward to cultural exchanges. We know that you have this festival of ancient drama. There is a variety of areas where we can be of interest to each other,`` she said.

    She furthermore noted that ``on the 23rd of June direct flights between Cyprus and Latvia are being started by Air Baltic`` and expressed hope that ``not only will Latvians come here on their holidays, but that the reverse movement as well will happen, that Cypriots will discover`` Latvian nature and attractions.


    The Cypriot Union of Bank employees (ETYK), responding to an appeal by the Minister of Labour and Social Insurance, has called off the two-hour strike it planned for Monday in all banks operating in Cyprus. ETYK members employed by National Bank of Greece (Cyprus) have been on strike for over a month, protesting against a decision by the Bank`s administration in Greece to transfer two executive employees to its subsidiary in Cyprus.

    Labour Minister Antonis Vassiliou stated to the press that National Bank`s administration has partially responded to his appeal to solve the dispute and it has called off the measure of a lock-out. National Banks administration has not yet given an answer concerning the legal procedure against the Union of Bank employees (ETYK).

    The Banks Managing Director Michalis Kokkinos will consult first their legal adviser and then will brief me, the Minister told the press.


    Bishop of Karpasia Christoforos has been enthroned before the religious, political and military leadership. Addressing the new bishop, Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos II said the road to the occupied Bishopric of Karpasia, on the northeastern tip of the island, is not a bed of roses.

    It is closed. And to enter your bishopric, you have to pass through barbed wire and the wall of shame, and come face to face with the horrible, disheartening site of ruins. You will find few worshippers, you will be met not by Orthodox Christians but by Muslims, you will find run down and looted churches which were turned into mosques, the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church said.

    In his speech, the new bishop assured that he will stand by all the Greek Cypriots living in Turkish occupied Cyprus, support them and lead them. Together with all the people in Karpasia, we are anticipating freedom and the return to our homeland, Bishop Christoforos said, adding that we need to make an alliance with God and repent, abandon sin and live according to Gods will so that we can be entitled to his help.


    An official delegation of the international firm Moody`s, which carries out financial monitoring and analysis on commercial and government organisations, will be visiting Cyprus on 5th of June for the regular review and assessment of the latest developments in the Cyprus economy.

    During its visit, the delegation will have official meetings with the Minister of Finance Michalis Sarris, the Governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus Athanasios Orphanides and other officials of the Finance Ministry, the Central Bank and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Moodys delegation will depart Cyprus on 6th of June.

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