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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 09-12-10

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>




    President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias will participate in the EU Council, which begins Thursday in Brussels.

    This Council meeting is considered to be unique and historic, as it is the first European Council under the Lisbon Treaty.

    At the meeting, the Swedish Presidency intends to highlight the follow-up of the economic and financial crisis, adopt the Stockholm Programme and review the situation in the climate negotiations ahead of Copenhagen.

    EU heads of state and government will also talk about the management of the past year`s economic and financial crisis and will note the effects of the support measures during the crisis and the formation of `exit strategies` to gradually remove these support measures.

    The European Council is expected to adopt the Stockholm Programme, the new action plan in the area of justice and home affairs for 2010-2014. The programme is important because it addresses freedom, security and justice, an increasingly important part of EU cooperation which has a major impact on the daily lives of individuals.

    The summit takes place in the middle of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. The conclusions from the Environment Council and the European Council in October form the EU mandate for negotiation ahead of Copenhagen. The summit is expected to complement the mandate in the light of the latest developments in the international negotiations, including drawing up a timetable for a legally binding climate agreement.

    In addition, the European Council will emphasise the need for greater focus on the transition to a long-term sustainable economy. The Council will state the need for clear priorities for the sustainable development strategy in future reviews and the need for improved policy instruments, monitoring and follow-up of the strategy.


    Alexander Downer, the UN Secretary General`s Special Adviser on Cyprus, has said he is ``cautiously optimistic`` that an agreement in talks to solve the Cyprus problem can be reached, adding that the leaders of the two communities are making steady progress. In statements after a meeting on Wednesday with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, along with the UN Secretary General`s Special Representative in Cyprus Taye Brook Zerihoun, Downer said there has been growing convergence in the talks over the past couple of months, and that the international community is quite focused on efforts to reach a settlement.

    Downer said ``we are cautiously optimistic that an agreement can be reached`` and noted that ``the two leaders are conducting the negotiations in good faith and with good will and they are working through the second reading, the second phase of the negotiations now.`` ``It is obviously a very great challenge to reach agreement, there is no doubting that. If it was an easy thing to do, it would have been done long ago. The fact that this matter has not been solved for many years demonstrates the size of the challenge but nevertheless the leaders are working very professionally and with great commitment to finding solutions and they are making steady progress,`` he added.

    Replying to questions, Downer said he believed ``good progress has been made`` and pointed out that over the past couple of months ``there has been a good deal of growing convergence.`` He added that the leaders of the two communities ``have made steady progress and it varies from week to week and meeting to meeting,`` noting that ``some meetings are better than others`` and that he remains ``cautiously optimistic.``


    The Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP) has expressed its sincere gratitude to Cyprus for its latest generous donation of 150,000 euro. This renewed donation will enable the CMP to pursue its project on the Exhumation, Identification and Return of Remains of Missing Persons into the beginning of 2010, a press release issued by the CMP says.

    To date, human remains representing some 585 individuals have been exhumed while 196 missing persons have been identified and returned to the families concerned. The CMP needs to raise 2,3 million euro per year to carry out its mandate, the press release said.

    The CMP is aiming to locate, exhume, identify and return as many remains as possible in order to bring an end to the uncertainty which has affected so many families for so many years.

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