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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 10-03-07

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    President Demetris Christofias has stressed that a European Court of Human Rights ruling, on property issues, cannot stop the Greek Cypriot side to claim the right of the actual property owners to decide first on the future of their Turkish occupied properties.

    The President also said that it was wrong to have filed such a large number of applications to the Court, with regard to properties in the northern Turkish occupied areas of the Republic.

    The European Court of Human Rights recognised in its judgment on Friday the self-styled immovable property commission (IPC), in Turkish occupied Cyprus, and called on Greek Cypriots to address themselves to this commission if they want to claim their occupied properties.

    The European Court (ECHR), in Strasbourg, also said that the IPC is an effective domestic remedy as far as property claims are concerned, and that Greek Cypriots must first exhaust all domestic remedies before resorting to the ECHR, including the so-called high administrative court in the occupied areas.

    We must deal with the Court judgment acting in concert, we must not create panic saying the game is lost. The decision is backtracking, we had predicted and often warned that mass applications to the Court could possibly, at the end of the day, lead to the recognition of the property commission in occupied Cyprus, the President said, commenting on the ruling.

    It was wrong to have filed so many applications to the Court, he acknowledged, adding at the same time that now we have to look ahead, see how to deal with the situation, if possible collectively.

    Asked if the Court decision would have an impact on the ongoing peace talks he is engaged in with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, the President replied: we are guided by positions of principle at the talks.

    The Court judgment will not prevent us from defending principles and the right of the real owners of property to have the first choice as far as their property is concerned. I want to assure everybody of that, he stressed.

    On Ankaras remarks on the ruling, he said celebrations about it were rather excessive and possibly aimed at serving a specific purpose.

    I do not underestimate the negative points in this judgment but we should not panic and say that the game has been lost, the President stressed.

    Asked if Talat might exploit this ruling to his advantage at the peace talks, he replied: if Talat acts in this manner, then he would be wrong to do that, recalling that he did not attempt to exploit, at the negotiating table, an earlier judicial decision on a property case relating to occupied property owned by a Greek Cypriot.

    I wish and hope that Talat will continue to talk with respect to his interlocutor, the process of negotiation and the rights of citizens, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, he added.


    President Demetris Christofias has reiterated his commitment to the families of all missing persons in Cyprus to work until the fate of their loved ones is established. In a memorial speech at the funeral of yet another Greek Cypriot, serving with the National Guard during the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, the President said we renew our commitment to the relatives of all the missing in Cyprus and say to them that we shall continue to demand a full investigation into their fate.

    We shall continue to support the work of the Committee on Missing Persons to accelerate the whole process of exhumation and identification of remains, to end the suffering of the families concerned, the President stressed. The invasion, he pointed out, has caused pain and suffering, it resulted in the occupation of Cyprus northern part and the disappearance of many people.

    These are the wounds we are trying to heal. We are committed to finding a solution which will end Turkeys occupation, stop the illegal arrival of Turkish settlers, rid Cyprus of any foreign dependency and secure human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Cypriots, Christofias stressed. He said the solution must be viable and functional, based on UN resolutions and EU principles. It must also provide for a bizonal bicommunal federation, a state with a single sovereignty, one international personality and one citizenship with political equality as defined by the UN.


    President Demetris Christofias has said that vigilance is necessary in order to avert deterioration of the economy, due to the financial crisis. Speaking at a conference organised by AKEL women`s movement, Christofias referred to the measures his government took last year to boost the economy, adding that ``it is obvious these were not sufficient.`` ``There is a need and an opportunity to tackle courageously structural problems of the economy,`` he said, pointing out the ``enormous state expenditure on the huge state machinery.``

    Christofias also pointed out the need to combat tax evasion, which deprives the state of hundreds of millions in revenue, and said that better planning of social benefits is necessary. Asked by reporters on his admission that the government measures were not enough, the President said that the measures taken last year were described by experts as sufficient, adding however that ``it seems that the global financial crisis was deeper than what the experts had initially predicted.`` ``We need to be vigilant and to take measures which should have been taken long ago,`` he concluded.

    Yesterday, Finance Minister Charilaos Stavrakis said the new government package will be ``balanced and will maintain growth in a socially fair way.`` Stavrakis has warned that unless steps are taken, Cyprus` budget deficit will grow from 6.1% to around 7% in 2010 and 10% in 2013.


    President Demetris Christofias and First Lady Elsi Christofia have hosted a reception, open to the public, to mark international womens day, celebrated on Monday. In statements to the press during the reception, at the Presidential Palace, he said he has always observed this day because he believes in the equality of the sexes. March 8 is not a day of celebration, it is a day which calls for additional struggles and an evaluation of what has been achieved so far. We have to set new goals leading to absolute equality between men and women and to the participation of women in all social structures, the President stressed.

    He pointed out that his administration through various practices and policies is working to realise its vision to upgrade the role of women. We still have a long way to go, both the state and society at large. We shall continue our work with patience and consistency and we shall support womens movements in their struggle for equality, he stressed.

    Minister of Labour and Social Insurance Sotiroulla Charalambous said we have not reached the end of the road, there is a lot to do, adding that her Ministry lays a lot of emphasis on the practical application of the principle of equality, in particular the relevant legislation.

    Newly appointed Minister of Communications and Works Erato Kozakou Marcoullis said being the second woman in the Cabinet sends a strong message about the effort to have women appointed in all walks of life and in particular at decision making bodies. Unfortunately we need to do a lot more, she added.

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