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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 09-05-26
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSIONER CYPRUS TALKSThe solution of the Cyprus problem depends on Turkey, Presidential Commissioner George Iacovou has stressed, noting that the Greek Cypriot side will not abandon the negotiating table despite difficulties.
Speaking before the 13th Economist conference in Athens, Iacovou said that Turkey, a country which maintains 40.000 occupation troops and has brought to Cyprus thousands of illegal settlers, is only natural to be the one with the key to the solution.
Expressing concern over statements by Turkeys National Security Council for a solution on the basis of two equal states in Cyprus, Iacovou said that Ankaras position not to withdraw even a symbolic number of troops from Cyprus and its policy to prevent the implementation of agreed Confidence Building Measures has shown Ankaras real intentions.
Asked if there is still prospect for a Cyprus solution in the near future, Iacovou replied: everything depends on whether Ankara, at this point, has the willingness and has taken the decision to help efforts to reach a solution.
He said the benefits that would result from a solution are obvious for all sides, including Turkey, which spends around one billion US dollars to maintain its occupation army in and support the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime in northern Turkish occupied Cyprus.
We hope that the Turkish side will not let the current opportunity to be missed, the Presidential Commissioner said, adding I continue to be cautiously optimistic.
Iacovou said that the Greek Cypriot side has the determination and the willingness to struggle against difficulties and added: we have great reserves of patience and persistence.
There is no other way to reach a solution in Cyprus, but negotiations under UN auspices. It is for this reason that we have stated that our side will not abandon the negotiating table, Iacovou stressed.
He recalled that the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat agreed that the solution of the Cyprus problem must be based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality, as defined in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, with a single sovereignty, one citizenship and one international personality.
This is very important because whatever is tabled at the negotiations and falls outside the above agreed framework is simply outside the framework, he pointed.
The solution of the Cyprus problem will be a compromise, Iacovou noted, but said that it should, at the same time, safeguard human rights for all its citizens, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.
Reviewing the course of the Cyprus talks, which began early September 2008 between the leaders of the two communities, under UN auspices, Iacovou said we can say that there is convergence but there are also serious differences.
There is still a gap on basic approaches, even regarding the term bizonal federation, he said, noting that some positions tabled by the Turkish Cypriot side are closer to confederation rather than the agreed framework of federation.
Regarding the property issue, discussed at the Cyprus talks, Iacovou said that a recent ruling by the European Court of Justice on a property case reaffirms that the effort to reach a solution must be a process of convergence and respect of human rights and the rule of law and not violation of these principles.
Referring to the chapter on European issues, the Presidential Commissioner there is convergence but also serious deviations and explained that the Turkish Cypriot side insists on permanent derogations from the EU acquis communautaire, as well as on issues regarding the economy with long periods of transitional arrangements.
Giving an example to illustrate the difficulties faced at the negotiating table, Iacovou referred to the Turkish stance regarding its refusal to agree to the opening of the Limnitis crossing point, on the north west, to facilitate movement to and from the islands northern Turkish occupied areas.
He noted that the Turkish Cypriot side has not fulfilled its commitment to open the Limnitis crossing point and raises new and unacceptable terms for its opening.
On Turkeys EU accession aspirations, he reiterated the Cypriot governments stance to support Turkey become a European country, under certain conditions.
Cyprus supports Turkeys EU perspective hoping that this would lead to the Europeanization of Turkey and the adoption of a spirit of friendship and cooperation with beneficial consequences for Turkey, Greece and Cyprus, he went on to add.
But Iacovou clarified that Turkeys EU accession depends on complying with its EU obligations, including the ones concerning the Republic of Cyprus.
The ball is at Turkeys feet. It is up to Turkey to help itself. Our wish is to have smooth developments and a swift solution, by submitting reasonable, compromising proposals at the talks.
He underscored that if things go wrong, it would be Turkeys exclusive responsibility.
Cooperation with the Greek government and leadership, he said, is close and expressed Cyprus gratitude for Greeces help, in the political and the defence arenas.
Iacovou noted that we need the help of other friends as well, in order to achieve a successful outcome for our peaceful struggle stressing that the EU must play a role in the efforts to reach a Cyprus solution.
The Economist conference was also attended by a UN representative who assured of the UN commitment to continue contributing to a Cyprus solution.
UN representative Yasser Sabra said the UN will continue contributing to the Cyprus negotiations, unless the two parties ask the UN to undertake a more active role, he said.
Sabra expressed the view that substantive progress has been achieved so far at the negotiating table, adding that he is also cautiously optimistic about the outcome of the process.
Cypriot President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat began UN-led direct negotiations for an agreed solution to the Cyprus problem since September 2008.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
 MILIBAND - CYPRUS ISSUEThe settlement of the Cyprus problem must be by Cypriots for Cypriots, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has stressed, adding that the UK is determined to play a supportive role.
In statements Tuesday after a meeting in Athens with his Greek counterpart Dora Bakoyannis, Miliband noted that courage and flexibility is needed in the search for the goal of a bizonal, bicommunal federation.
The settlement must be by Cypriots and for Cypriots. And the United Kingdom is determined to play only a supportive role for the vital negotiations that are taking place at the moment, and which need to make progress over the next few months, he added.
 PRESIDENT TOURISMPresident of the Republic Demetris Christofias has described 2009 as probably the most difficult year in the history of tourism in Cyprus, due to the global financial crisis which has affected many countries from which the island attracts tourists.
Addressing the Cyprus Hoteliers Association (PASYXE) Annual General Meeting here on Tuesday, President Christofias said that between the beginning of this year until May 15, the number of tourist arrivals decreased by 9.8%, compared to last years figures.
He stressed that this situation brings forward another serious problem which needs to be addressed, and relates to the almost complete dependence of the local tourist industry on countries which traditionally supply Cyprus with tourists.
As a result of the global financial crisis - including job losses and a drop in businesses in various fields - summer vacation is probably not a high priority for everybody, he noted.
 US AMBASSADOR INVESTMENTSUS investments in Cyprus amount to more than 379 million US dollars, US Ambassador in Nicosia Frank Urbancic has said, noting that this figure will soon increase substantially as an American energy firm begins exploring for oil and gas off Cyprus southwest coast.
Speaking Tuesday at a press conference at the US pavilion of the Cyprus International Fair, Urbancic noted that US exports to Cyprus grew by 73.6% last year.
The US Ambassador pointed out that the United States is also a reliable export market for Cyprus, with considerable untapped potential. He went on to add that many Cypriot products, such as dairy products, salt, and mineral substances have been increasing their sales in the United States in recent years, while others, such as fresh fish hold much potential for growth.
The owner of a major Cypriot dairy company has told us he cant keep up with the growing US demand for halloumi (the traditional Cyprus cheese), Urbancic said.
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