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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-12-01

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The direct negotiations, aimed at a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, are moving ahead well, with both parties presenting their respective positions and engaging with each other in a constructive and open manner, Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General noted in his report on the United Nations operation in Cyprus, that was released Monday.

    Ban pointed out that nonetheless the issues to be addressed are difficult and differences along the way will naturally appear. Many issues cut across each other and cannot be considered in isolation but rather as areas for potential compromise. The nature of the process therefore demands a diligent and patient approach. I am confident that both leaders will remain engaged through regular meetings and committed to see the process through, he added.

    The UN Secretary General noted that during the reporting period, the situation in the buffer zone remained calm and stable, and he commended both sides for deciding to cancel their main annual military exercises, in line with the improved political atmosphere on the island.

    The UNFICYP Force Commander will work with military commanders on both sides to extend this constructive approach to other military activities. In this context, I hope the Turkish Forces will lift their unwarranted restrictions on UNFICYPs movement, he stressed.

    Commenting on the report, a diplomatic source said that it is satisfactory. It is noted that the solution will be based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality, he said, stressing that the issue of the so called isolation of the T/c, is exalted to an issue of isolation of the two communities, and not to an issue on the relations between the Turkish Cypriot community and third countries.

    The references that the United Nations continues to hold the government of Turkey responsible for the status quo in Varosha, Laroujina and Strovilia, are also considered as positive for the Republic of Cyprus, the diplomat noted.

    According to the report, the role of the UN is to assist and facilitate this Cypriot owned process as required. In this I will spare no efforts. I am also fully prepared, at the parties request, to offer more assistance, he noted.

    The report covers developments from 24 May to 23 November 2008 and brings up to date the record of activities carried out by the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) pursuant to Security Council resolution 186 (1964) and subsequent Council resolutions, most recently resolution 1818 (2008).


    Central Bank Governor Athanasios Orphanides said here Monday that undoubtedly the Cyprus economy will be affected in 2009 by the worldwide economic developments adding that the range in which GDP will increase will be around two percent while for 2008, it will be around 3.5-3.75%.

    Briefing the House of Representatives Finance Committee on the current economic situation and the Central Banks views on the possible repercussions of the crisis on the Cyprus economy, Orphanides assured members of the House that the Cyprus banking system is robust, adding however that for precautionary reasons, the banks must maintain their cash flows to satisfy their current needs.

    Despite the adverse economic developments worldwide, said Orphanides, our banks remain healthy and this is proven by their capital competence and their profits which are at satisfactory levels.

    He said that in Cyprus what has become evident lately is the decrease in lending noting that under normal circumstances, the rate of loans should comply with the rate of deposits.

    Orphanides said that 2009 is expected to be a more difficult year.

    I don`t have the ability to make a prediction on when there will be an exit from the crisis. I hope that the worst is behind us. We cannot rule out a further worsening of the situation but I would place a smaller probability on this. I hope that there will be a gradual improvement of the situation,`` he said.


    European Commissioner for Health, Androulla Vassiliou said she considers HIV/AIDS as a real political priority and confirmed her commitment to taking further action to address this important public health and societal challenge.

    Vassiliou was speaking in an event, organized by the Research Centre of Social Issues and the University of Nicosia, on the occasion of World AIDS Day. She said it is her first speech as the Commissioner for Health on a World AIDS Day and she underlined the importance of the threat posed to the world by HIV saying it is still a major health problem today.

    ``I am convinced and I want to ensure that the European Union will continue to make a key contribution to the joint efforts to curb the epidemic across Europe and in the world``, she added.

    She said that in Europe alone, there are 700.000 people living with HIV/AIDS and 30.000 people are newly infected every year.

    Commissioner Vassiliou said she is worried by the fact that the proportion of young people and women getting infected is increasing in Europe, that the infection stays within and expands in the most vulnerable groups in society and there is lack of knowledge on HIV/AIDS, on its transmission and on its consequences. EU Commissioner stresses the progress Cyprus education has made


    Cyprus has made a measurable and visible progress in the area of education, Jan Figel, EU Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth has said.

    Speaking at a press conference here, on the second day of his official visit to Cyprus, Figel said that Cyprus in 7 years, from 2000 to 2007, was the most rapid or advancing country in the EU27, in fulfilling the concrete benchmarks of the European Union.

    One of the EU targets is the reduction of the number of those who are leaving school early, to 10% by 2010. While the EU27 average was 15.2% in 2007, the percentage in Cyprus reduced to 12.6% by 2007.

    Regarding the upper secondary completion rate, which is the percentage of the young people (20-24) completed at least upper secondary education, the EU goal is 85% by 2010. Cyprus has already fulfilled this goal, since 85.8% of the young people completed at least the upper secondary school by 2007.

    In addition, 6.92% of the Gross Domestic Product is invested in education in Cyprus, compare to 5.03% in the 27 member states of the European Union.

    There is still a lot to do, but in comparison with the beginning, Cyprus did a lot of progress, measurable and visible progress, Figel noted.

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