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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-04-11

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] TALAT - LEDRA STR

  • [01] TALAT - LEDRA STR

    Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat passed into the government-controlled areas of the Republic on Friday through the crossing point in Ledra Street in Nicosia, which opened last week.

    Talat crossed over without any formalities, accompanied by his guards and his spokesman, Hassan Ercakica.

    In statements to the press, Talat said he was very pleased everything was running smoothly and pointed out that crossing over was spontaneous. "I did not think to cross to this side, but this morning I said since we are going to visit Arasta lets also cross to the other side."

    Asked if this would generate criticism from the Turkish Cypriot side, Talat said it may but noted that "we are a democratic society."

    During his tour of the part of Ledra Street in the government-controlled areas, which took about an hour, Talat talked with citizens in Greek, had coffee in a local coffee shop and bought an ice cream.

    He also visited a music shop, where he purchased a CD with Greek music, as well as a Beatles album. Talat requested The Wall by Pink Floyd but it was out of stock at the time.

    Talat furthermore bought a bag of Cypriot coffee and was offered a miniature sailboat as a gift.

    "This is just to convey my best wishes to the Greek Cypriot people," Talat told reporters and said the Turkish Cypriot side was "genuinely" interested in finding "a solution to the problem and we will really unify our country."


    The government of the Republic of Cyprus has already given its consent to the appointment of Taye-Brook Zerihoun as the UN Secretary General`s Special Representative in Cyprus and Head of UNFICYP, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou has said.

    Stephanou reaffirmed the Governments readiness to continue to show good will and work for the settlement of the Cyprus question and expressed hope that in the effort for a Cyprus settlement there will be a relevant response by the other side with a view to fulfill the historic and political obligation to achieve a settlement in Cyprus as was noted by the President of the European Commission Mr. Barroso in his speech before the Turkish National Assembly.

    He also welcomed statements by Barroso and Enlargement Commissioner Oli Rehn in Turkey, describing them as proper and constructive adding that they show the need that Turkey fulfills its obligations towards the Republic of Cyprus and the need for Turkey to contribute to the achievement of a settlement that will respect the right of citizens.


    Cypriot President Demetris Christofias assured on Friday of his personal support, as well as the government`s, "towards a solution of the problems" in the shipping sector "the soonest possible."

    "The Turkish embargo, as well as other matters relating to the smooth operation of the shipping companies in Cyprus, such as their taxation regime and the social security for EU seafarers on Cyprus ships, have been included high in my list of priorities," President Christofias said.

    Addressing the 19th Annual General Meeting of the Cyprus Shipping Council (CSC) in Limassol, President Christofias said "the development of merchant shipping does not only take on important economic dimensions but it also has political consequences," adding that "in a small state, part of which is occupied, the fact that the Cyprus flag is hoisted on ships across the globe is indeed very meaningful."

    "The active participation of Cyprus in international maritime organisations enhances the Republic`s status, something which in turn adds to the image of our country and has positive political prolongations. For this, we congratulate the CSC for its long and active participation in the equivalent regional and international shipping organisations, as a successful representative of the Cyprus shipping industry abroad," he noted.

    President Christofias also said that "the inclusion of our flag in the White List of both the Paris and Tokyo Memoranda of Understanding on port state control was the result of the policy implemented by Cyprus and this achievement has reinforced the international community`s trust in Cyprus and the Cyprus flag," adding that he notes "with particular pleasure the role and contribution of the CSC in Cyprus` achievement to respond to the European standards and demands."

    He furthermore announced that "the new government is considering setting up a coordinating body among all interested stakeholders in Cyprus shipping, both from the governmental and semi-governmental sectors, as well as the private sector, which will be advising the government on general shipping policy matters, as already stated in our government programme."

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