|Monday, 24 February 2020|
Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-01-19
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 SPOKESMAN - NATIONAL COUNCILThe positions submitted by the Turkish Cypriot side on the Cyprus problem are problematic, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said on Wednesday, and expressed hope that during the meeting between the leaders of the two communities on Friday there would be a revisal of the stance and behaviour of the Turkish Cypriot side at the talks for a settlement.
After Wednesday`s meeting of the National Council, which is the top advisory body to the President of the Republic on the handling of the Cyprus problem and comprises parliamentary party leaders and representatives, Stephanou read out a Council statement, saying that President Demetris Christofias briefed the members of the Council on developments since November 18, 2010, when the leaders of the two communities met in New York with the UN Secretary General.
Emphasis was given to recent developments at the negotiations between President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, and especially the proposals submitted by the Turkish Cypriot side, and an exchange of views followed.
Asked if a joint stance was agreed on during the meeting, in view of the meeting in Geneva on January 26 between the leaders of the two communities and the UN Secretary General, Stephanou said that the positions submitted by the Turkish Cypriot side were problematic.
``We hope that during the meeting on Friday there will be a revisal of this stance and behaviour of the Turkish Cypriot side at the negotiations, because the Greek Cypriot side is working to meet the call of the Secretary General, as defined in the New York statement, to reach convergences at the negotiating table. The President of the Republic is working very decisively and very constructively to make this happen,`` he added.
Replying to other questions, Stephanou said that ``the basis of negotiations is there, it has been reaffirmed and agreed on since the beginning of the direct negotiations, and this basis of a solution is in UN resolutions.``
Regarding the issue of the fenced-off town of Famagusta, Stephanou said the Government`s position was well-known on the issue and that ``Famagusta is included in the triptych of proposals the President of the Republic has submitted, whish is a proposal based on UN resolutions and decisions concerning Famagusta.``
He also pointed out that the issue of Famagusta was also included in the high level agreement of 1979 between the then leaders of the two communities, President Spyros Kyprianou and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.
``This proposal has particular specifications and we are working for their implementation,`` he said, adding that this issue was also placed before Turkey, since the resolutions were before Turkey, in order to create, under UN auspices, the preconditions for the return of the legitimate citizens of Famagusta.
Stephanou said that ``we included in our proposal the issue of the port in such a manner that the EU could implement that, which it wants, without violating the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus, meaning the development of the relations of the Turkish Cypriots with the EU and at the same time, as long as Turkey responds to this totally fair and reasonable position, it can pursue the opening of chapters.``
Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
President Christofias and Eroglu are currently engaged in UN-led negotiations with an aim to reunify the island.
 PRESIDENT - DOWNER - MEETINGThe meeting in Geneva between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus and the UN Secretary General is an important part of the process to solve the Cyprus problem and the UN chief hopes it will contribute to maintaining the momentum in the negotiations, the UN Secretary General`s Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer said on Wednesday. Speaking after a meeting with President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias, Downer said he also met Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu earlier on in the day, ``not just to talk about where the negotiations are at the moment but also to start making preparations for next week in the meeting in Geneva on January 26.``
``This is going to be an important meeting. This is an important part of the process. The Secretary General is very much looking forward to it and the Secretary General looks forward to hearing from the leaders, not just how they have been getting on for the last two months, since he last met them, but also to hear how they are planning to address the core issues and he will look forward to hearing about the plans for the future as well from both of the leaders,`` Downer said.
He added that ``this is going to be an important component of the process and the Secretary General very much hopes it will contribute to maintaining the momentum in the negotiations.`` Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. President Christofias and Eroglu are currently engaged in UN-led negotiations with an aim to reunify the island.
 US DIPLOMAT - CYPRUS VISITUS Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Phil Gordon is in Cyprus for a three day visit.
During his stay on the island, he will meet with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu and their advisers.
He will also meet with the UN Secretary General`s special adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer.
Asked about the reason of Gordon`s visit and if the United States is going to send a coordinator to participate in the talks on Cyprus in Geneva later this month, State Department Spokesman Philip Crowley said ``we are focused on the situation in Cyprus. We`ve been engaged, you know, since the Obama Administration came to office on this. We`ve had discussions here in Washington, but this was a good time for Assistant Secretary Gordon to see the situation on the ground firsthand.``
He said that Gordon`s visit to Cyprus ``is an opportunity to speak directly to the leaders of the two communities, their advisors. He will meet with UN Secretary-General Special Adviser Downer and his team, you know, but reiterate our support for their efforts to reach a solution that will reunite the island as a bizonal, bicommunal federation.``
 MINISTER - NATURAL GASMinister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Antonis Paschalides has said that Cyprus will not rush to sign an agreement regarding the supply of the island with natural gas. He also expressed the view that Cyprus will be able to proceed with the extraction of natural gas in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in seven years. Speaking Wednesday before the House of Representatives Committee on Commerce and asked about the possibility for Cyprus to extract its own natural gas in the event that natural gas reserves are found in Cyprus EEZ, the Minister said that this will not happen in three years, as some people believe, but rather in seven years, based on the information he has from experts on the matter.
He also recalled that President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias will soon pay a visit to Israel. Cyprus and Israel have recently signed a bilateral agreement for the delineation of the Exclusive Economic Zone between the two countries, where it is believed that there are huge amounts of hydrocarbon reserves. The Minister of Commerce informed the House Committee on the procedure followed since 2007 for providing Cyprus with natural gas, until the end of 2010, when the Natural Gas Public Company (DEFA) concluded its negotiations. Paschalides reassured the members of the House Committee that all legal procedures had been followed by DEFA and stressed that no political decision has been made yet as regards the supply of the island with natural gas.
He also said that the government will consider all facts before taking its final decision, so that the decision serves the interest of the people of Cyprus. ``We will not rush to sign an agreement, he pointed out. Cyprus is very close to announcing its strategic supplier of natural gas to be used as the main means of power generation. According to the current planning, Natural Gas will be imported in the form of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) stored and de-liquefied in the terminal in Vasiliko at southern coast of Cyprus. Despite that, recent disclosure that there are strong indications of sizeable natural gas deposits south-east of the island set off a debate, with the majority of political parties and independent experts saying that Cyprus should not be bound to a huge contract when other, more affordable options, might be available, like the extraction of the country`s own natural gas resources.
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