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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-03-12

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Turkish occupation forces have arrested Saturday morning four MEPs, a clerical official and two other citizens of the Republic of Cyprus, in the fenced-off city of Varosha, in Famagusta.

    Among the arrested MEPs is Cypriot Member of the European Parliament Eleni Theocharous, who invited her colleagues, Polish MEPs Jaroslaw Walesa and Artur Zasada, as well as Bulgarian MEP Mariya Nedelcheva, to visit the occupied areas of Cyprus and have a first-hand experience of the situation in Varosha. The Bishop of Neapolis, Mr Porfyrios who was accompanying the delegation was also arrested.

    Occupation forces arrested the group at around 10 am, in the churchyard of Ayia Zoni, which is situated within the fenced-off area of Famagusta, occupied by the Turkish military.

    In a written statement, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou condemned the arrest, which he called an illegal action by the occupation regime.

    This illegal action, which demonstrates what the occupation means, undermines and dynamites the efforts for achieving a solution in the Cyprus issue, Stephanou notes.

    He adds that the Government is taking all actions and has made the necessary representations for the immediate release of all illegally-arrested individuals.

    Speaking to CNA, Presidential Commissioner Giorgos Iacovou, who is handling the case on behalf of the Government, said he is in touch with the United Nations, following the customary procedure for the release of those illegally arrested.

    Yiannos Charalambides, parliamentary assistant to MEP Theocharous, while speaking to CNA, said that the President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek has also been informed on the incident.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.


    The extraordinary summit of the Eurozone country leaders was concluded on Friday, after midnight, in Brussels, seeking to pave the way for a comprehensive response to the public debt crisis.

    President of the Republic Demetris Christofias stated that the recent financial crisis put in doubt the stability of global economy, including that of the Eurozone. Therefore, he added, a better coordination is necessary, along with the reinforcement of the Eurozone members competitiveness, aiming at raising citizens living standards. Christofias noted that the agreed Euro Pact was the result of difficult bargaining and added that the end result addresses the basic concerns of the Cypriot side.

    He added that Cyprus is in line with the common action of Eurozone members and the general goals that are included in the Pact. It is especially important, he said, that the Pact ensures that the Member States will decide on their own which particular measures to implement in order to achieve the general goals.

    The President stated his opposition to tax convergence and corporate tax harmonization proposals. As he noted, Cyprus competitiveness would be severely hit if such measures were adopted and added that the tax system was in place before the countrys accession to the EU and was approved by the Union upon entering the bloc. Moreover, he said that Cyprus was also against the proposals to suspend the Cost-of-living Allowance (COLA) and expressed satisfaction that these concerns were taken into account.


    A delegation of the Greek Cypriot negotiation team concluded on Friday its contacts with UN external experts on the property issue, in New York. The delegation comprised Ambassador Nikos Emiliou, former Minister of Finance Michalis Sarris and Toumazos Tselepis. The names of the UN experts were not revealed by a UN official, who confirmed however the meeting. During the tri-partite Geneva meeting, the Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki-moon had requested from the two community leaders to benefit from ideas by technical experts.

    According to a reliable diplomatic source, the New York meeting lasted 8 hours, focusing on technical issues. The delegation had stated from the beginning that it would not discuss the core of the property issue, if the territorial issue were not to be discussed also.

    Present during the meeting were also three members of the team of the UN Special Adviser Alexander Downer, who are accompanying the former Australian diplomat for his briefing of the Security Council, due next Tuesday.

    The same diplomatic source stated that the meeting covered the topic of the international immovable property committee, to be formed after an eventual solution, technical aspects of ways of evaluating the properties to be compensated, the financing of compensation and the resettlement of residents to be affected by territorial adjustments.

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