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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-04-06

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, namely President of the Republic Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, met in a ``positive atmosphere`` on Wednesday and continued discussions on the internal aspects of security, in the framework of talks to solve the Cyprus problem.

    Speaking after the meeting, the UN Secretary General`s Special Representative in Cyprus Lisa Buttenheim noted that the leaders had agreed to hold a working dinner on April 14, when the UN Secretary General`s Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer would be back in Cyprus.

    ``The leaders met for about an hour in a positive atmosphere. They continued their discussion on the internal aspects of security and their representatives will carry the discussion forward,`` Buttenheim said.

    She added that ``it has been agreed that the leaders and the representatives will have a working dinner next Thursday, the 14th of April, when the Special Adviser Mr. Downer comes back,`` at the residence of the UN Secretary General` Special Representative in Cyprus.

    Buttenheim also said that the dinner ``was a proposal of Alexander Downer,`` adding that ``last time he was here he thought it might be a nice way to have a different format of a discussion over dinner.``

    She added that two meetings of the representatives have been scheduled, on April 8 and April 12, both at 10:00 local time (07:00 GMT).

    Buttenheim noted that ``both leaders expressed their condolences through me to the Secretary General and the UN as a whole and to staff around the world, in recognition of a number of tragic losses that the UN has sustained in the past few days in Afghanistan, in Congo, and we have also lost personnel in Cote d` Ivoire, in Haiti and in Darfur.``

    ``It is a very sad moment for the UN in these past few days. There is going to be a memorial in New York, where the Secretary General will lay a wreath. We will do something sort of like that this afternoon and that is why our flag is at half mast,`` she added.

    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.


    Significant work has been achieved during the past three years, with the government implementing its programme steadily and with consistency, amidst adverse conditions, the President of the Republic Demetris has stressed, speaking during a televised press conference, which focused on internal affairs, to mark his third year in office. The President pointed out that his government was called to deal with the fallout of the global financial crisis, a job which, he said, was done efficiently, despite criticism to the contrary.

    We have never maintained that all is well or a bed of roses. It is this government which has highlighted problems and stressed the need to tackle structural problems of the economy. We ask to be compared with others in an objective manner, President Christofias said in his opening remarks, adding that Cyprus needs a positive approach and not constant negative comments which provoke unjustified panic. He said the government is not exclusively charged with dealing with the crisis, although it has the primary responsibility in this respect. The contribution of social partners and political forces is also essential, describing the economy as a national concern which warrants responsible handling.

    I cannot promise to solve all the problems, what I can assure you of is that I will continue to work with all my associates to solve the daily problems of the people, he added. The President noted that, despite the great hardships caused by the global financial crisis, a lot of work has been done by the government to benefit the people and society in general. The government, he added, was forced to readjust its goals and priorities in the realm of socio-economic policies, but not to the detriment of socially-oriented policies.

    Speaking on the repercussions of the financial crisis, the President said that it resulted in the deterioration of financial indexes, not just in Cyprus but throughout Europe, and led to a public deficit. The deficit, he explained, was caused by reduced state revenue, due to stagnation in the construction and tourist sectors. Revenue, he added, dropped by 1,2 million euros annually, in a state budget worth 8 million euros. He said that the crisis forced the government to support important economic sectors, worth half a billion euros.


    Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Samuel Santos Lopez is in Cyprus on a three-day visit, at the invitation of his Cypriot counterpart Markos Kyprianou. On Wednesday, the Nicaraguan Foreign Minister and his Cypriot counterpart will be holding official talks with the participation of their delegations.

    A Memorandum of Understanding for the establishment of mechanisms for political consultation and mutual cooperation between the two Ministries will be signed after the talks, along with an agreement on cooperation on tourism between Cyprus and Nicaragua.

    During his visit, Samuel Santos Lopez will meet the President of the House of Representatives Marios Garoyian and Trade Minister Antonis Paschalides.


    Minister of Communications and Works Erato Kozakou Markoullis addressing the Digital Ship Cyprus Conference 2011, in Limassol, organized for the eighth consecutive year in Cyprus, pointed out the importance of the operation of advanced information technology and communication systems for the shipping sector.

    Markoulli stressed that advanced information technology and communication systems is essential for the safe and secure operation of the ships, as well as for the protection of the environment and life at sea. It is also an indispensable tool for sound financial management which is of vital importance especially during periods of economic crisis such as the one we are going through now.

    As she said, the already in operation Vessel Traffic Monitoring and Information System in Cyprus provides valuable information about maritime traffic in the eastern Mediterranean, leading to the prevention of marine casualties, improved protection of the marine environment and prevention of trafficking of illegal immigrants.

    Referring to the problem of piracy, Markoulli stressed that the Ministry is taking initiatives to face the problem. As a leading flag we will also take an active role in urging the European Union and the IMO to take all those legal and practical measures that will result in making the worlds sea lanes and corridors safe for international shipping she added.

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