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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 10-03-02

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    President of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament Martin Schulz expressed to Cyprus President Demetris Christofias the full support of the Socialists in Europe to go ahead with the negotiations on the Cyprus question.

    Schulz described a meeting with President Christofias here on Tuesday as excellent, adding that ``we are behind him and we think the Cyprus problem is one of the last big unsolved problems in the world, and especially in the EU, and we need a solution.``

    ``Therefore, it is important that the President of the Republic of Cyprus knows that in the European Parliament the Social Democratic Group is completely behind his strategy and behind the line of the President,`` he added.

    Asked about the letter that he sent to Cyprus Social Democrats Movement EDEK when the party was going to decide if it would withdraw from the government coalition, Schulz said: ``We are a common political family. We all belong to the same party, to the European Socialist Party and I am the leader of the parliamentarian group in the European Parliament and it is quite clear that the items concerning Cyprus are discussed in the European Parliament. That`s absolutely clear.``

    Therefore, he added, ``I must have an opinion and I will not define my opinion without a debate with our sister party in Cyprus. Thats the reason why I wrote the letter, because we are in the same boat. So, I have to respect the conclusions of EDEK and I fully respect the decisions of EDEK and the full sovereignty of the party in the country, but the country is a part of the EU and then I as a group leader in the parliament of the Union I must deal with the decisions here in the country,`` Schulz added.

    He noted that ``that was the reason why we are in an exchange of views and I have my position and I have to respect the position of EDEK and I think we had yesterday a very fruitful meeting, Yiannakis Omirou and I, and I think we respect mutually our positions.``

    To a remark that they agree with EDEK that they disagree on the matter of EDEK`s withdrawal from the government, Schulz said ``there is a different task. EDEK has to deal with the national questions and I have to deal with the European questions and from time to time there are different approaches. My approach is clear. I support President Christofias,`` he stressed.

    He noted that his impression is that there is no doubt about the support. ``There is perhaps a controversial debate about the content, but that the process must go on thats without any doubt for everybody who is discussing the problem,`` he concluded.

    President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat have been engaged in direct negotiations since September 2008 with a view to solve the question of Cyprus, divided since the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974.


    New Minister of Communication and Works Erato Kozakou Markoullis has expressed the commitment to continue the significant work achieved in the Ministry by outgoing Minister Nikos Nikolaides.

    Markoullis, who assumed Tuesday her duties at the Ministry, pledged to promote all necessary projects in order to implement the governments programme.

    The outgoing Minister handed over Tuesday the Ministry to Markoullis during a ceremony at the Ministry in Nicosia.

    Markoullis, who served between 2007 2008 as Foreign Minister and as diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1980 until 2007, said in her speech that during her 30 years of experience as a diplomat she often had to deal with issues concerning the Ministry of Communication, such as civil aviation matters, merchant shipping, and the Antiquities Department.

    She expressed certainty that with the help of all in the Ministry she will very soon be able to continue the ``significant work`` of the outgoing Minister.


    New Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment Minister, Demetris Eliades, has pledged to work with his associates at the Ministry to handle the common challenges and make use of the opportunities and possibilities offered through the European Union.

    Receiving the Ministry from his predecessor Michalis Polinikis, he expressed deep appreciation for the outgoing ̀inister, noting that he has performed credible work in the field of desalination plants and «has solved the water problem that has plagued Cyprus and its society.

    Our aim is to serve the society and its citizens. The productive classes which are directly under our authority but also the citizens who we want to always have a class of clean water on their tables. I want to assure the citizens of this state that with my credible partners in this Ministry, we will work together to face the common challenges and make use of the opportunities which are offered through the EU, he added.

    Handling over the Ministry, Polinikis praised the staff at the Ministry who worked with him during the last two years and collectively we managed to achieve a lot.

    President Christofias replaced Polynikis, who resigned after the latters party, the Movement of Social Democrats EDEK, withdrew from the government coalition.


    Presidential Commissioner George Iacovou said on Tuesday that on March 15 works will begin on the road from Kato Pyrgos to Limnitis, as well as works concerning the opening of the Limnitis checkpoint.

    Speaking after a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Communications, which was briefed on the works regarding the Limnitis checkpoint, Iacovou said that there has been no decision on when the works would be completed but noted that the Greek Cypriot side believes that the whole project could be completed within four months.

    He expressed hope that the United Nations will adopt the position that the works could be completed within four months, adding that a reply is expected this week.

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