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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 09-08-28

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou has said that all available options will be on the table for discussion between the President and the National Council, with regard to Turkeys assessment by the European Union in December.

    The National Council, the top advisory body to President Demetris Christofias on the handling of the Cyprus question, comprises representatives of parliamentary parties and will meet for two days on September 14-15.

    Speaking before the 16th World Conference of Overseas Cypriots, Stephanou said all scenarios and alternative options will be examined so that we will be ready and flexible enough to be able to handle things in the best possible way and serve our cause.

    Responding to questions by delegates, the Spokesman said that the Republic of Cyprus has no right of veto in this evaluation of Turkey, as it did in 2005 and 2006.

    He said that that Cyprus as well as Greece support Turkeys European prospect and European course as through this process Turkey can find incentives and we can find levers to exert pressure and influence Ankara to changer its stance.

    However he stressed that this support is not a blank cheque and that whatever Turkey does, it will find Cyprus before it and will have more problems than those Ankara creates for itself.

    The Spokesman said that the political leadership in Cyprus must handle things collectively with patience, and in concert with Greece, adding that overseas Cypriots will be briefed on developments.

    Our objective is not to create problems for Turkey but to work for a settlement, which is served through the implementation by Turkey of its obligations. Turkey has to adjust its behaviour, recognise the Republic of Cyprus and normalise its relations with an EU member-state, he added.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Peace talks are underway between the leaders of the two communities to find a negotiated settlement that would reunite the country.


    A united Cyprus, with a unified economy and a common currency, would lead very quickly to economic growth on the island, even though there is now economic discrepancy between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities, the head of working group on economic issues and former Minister of Finance, Michael Sarris believes.

    He stressed that the viability of the solution would be hampered, if real unification of the economy is blocked in any way.

    In an interview with CNA to mark the end of the first round of direct negotiations, which started in September last year between the leaders of the two communities, Sarris said that on the technocrats level there has been very good cooperation with the Turkish Cypriots and there was convergence on many issues.

    As discussions at the working group moved on, the Turkish Cypriot side tended to present ideas that promoted separate financial institutions, a move he described as not a pleasant surprise.

    A unified market will have significant beneficial for all Cypriots, but under certain conditions, he explained, which relate to the four basic freedoms, namely free movement of goods, services, labour force and capital, effective monitoring of the financial system, an institutional framework to guarantee the continuation of macroeconomic stability, a wise fiscal policy and the right structural reforms.

    Sarris believes that the institutions within a negotiated settlement - regarding the EU must be under the authority of the federal government and must not include permanent derogations from the aquis communitaire.

    The best way to achieve convergence between the two future component states, in a future federal Cyprus, is fast economic growth, free movement of goods, services, labour force and capita and funding of development projects through the federal budget, he said. Initially, the Turkish Cypriot component state will draw more funds from the federal government, he added.


    President of the International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA), Philip Christopher believes that only the US can exert pressure on Turkey for a solution to the Cyprus issue and for this to take place, he says, the interests of the US and the interests of Cyprus must be aligned.

    In an interview with the Cyprus News Agency, he said that the election to the US presidency of Barack Obama, the appointment of Senator Joe Biden to the Vice Presidency of the US and Hilary Clinton at the helm of the State Department can bring about many changes, pointing out that the first move that needs to be done is to persuade the US that a united Republic of Cyprus can secure the interests of the US in the Middle East.

    Christopher, who is here for the 16th Annual Conference of Cypriots of the diaspora, stressed that although it is impossible to eradicate the interests of the US in Turkey, he firmly believes that only the US can persuade Ankara to work for a political settlement in Cyprus.

    Noting that the Republic of Cyprus can be a bridge for Europe to the Middle East, he pointed out that we must stress at every opportunity the advantages that the island has since it has become a member of the European Union and remind everybody that the country is financially developed.

    Speaking about his hometown of Kyrenia, occupied by Turks since the 1974 invasion which resulted in the occupation of the islands northern third, Christopher reminisced his childhood summer holidays at the beach with friends.

    The son of parents who immigrated to the US in the 1950s, he said his parents wish was to return to their homeland.

    My last memory of Kyrenia was in the summer of 1973, the year before the invasion. We immigrated to the US when I was 10, in 1959, said Christopher, adding that his parents however used to send him to Cyprus every summer and thus he remained in touch with friends and family.

    Asked about his memories of his hometown, Christopher said there were many things. The small harbour where we used to swim and fish, the neighbourhood football team, competitions about who would make the biggest traditional bonfire at Easter. I also lived through 1955-1959 when even as a kid, I still remember the British soldiers searching our house.


    Former President of the European Parliament and now MEP for the European People`s Party, Hans-Gert Pottering, arrives in Cyprus on Saturday for a private visit during which he will be received by President of the Republic Demetris Christofias.

    Pottering will also meet the leadership of opposition Democratic Rally party and will attend a working lunch with fellow Euro MPs Ioannis Kasoulides and Eleni Theoharous and former Euro MP Panagiotis Demetriou.

    Pottering will hold meetings with representatives of the Cyprus Chamber of Shipping and the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry and will confer with Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot business people.

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