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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-04-15
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 PRESIDENT CHRISTOFIAS - CYPRUS ISSUE - PRESS CONFERENCEPresident Demetris Christofias has stressed that he will never reconcile himself with partition, pointing out that this would be detrimental for the county and reiterating his firm support for a bizonal bicommunal federal solution, which he described as an historic compromise the Greek Cypriot community has made.
Speaking at a televised press conference on the question of Cyprus, to mark three years in office, President Christofias noted that there has been little progress in the ongoing UN-led negotiations primarily because of the stance of the Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership, calling at the same time on the international community and in particular the EU and the UN to evaluate objectively and realistically Ankaras words.
The President assured that irrespective of difficulties at the negotiating table, he will not will stop working for reunification, vowing to exhaust all possibilities provided by the current process to achieve a settlement, to end Turkeys occupation and reunify the island.
He also said that the Republic of Cyprus is no longer in the corner, it is strong on the international scene and thanked all countries which support the positions Nicosia advocates.
In his introductory remarks, the President described the delimitation of Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone as probably the most important development in the past years, after developments which relate to our accession to the EU.
On EU matters, he said Cyprus does not aim to derail Turkeys accession course but stressed that Ankara has to meet its EU obligations to Brussels and the Republic of Cyprus as well.
Addressing the Turkish Cypriots, he stressed the need for rapprochement and a common struggle between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, saying that the official Greek Cypriot leadership has the political will for a solution.
In his opening statement to the press, the President extended most warm thanks to Greece for its unwavering support to Cyprus struggle for a political settlement.
Concluding, President Christofias said that unity among the political forces is a necessary prerequisite to achieve the vision of reunification and end Turkeys occupation of the islands northern part, stressing at the same time that he is not seeking to silence criticism.
The President said that Turkey must be judged on the basis of its actions regarding Cyprus, noting that Ankara is violating international law and the human rights of all Cypriots, it refuses to withdraw its occupation forces and continues to bring, illegally, to Cyprus Turkish settlers.
It rejects creative proposals as our proposal on Famagusta and refuses to listen to the voice of the Turkish Cypriots. It guides and supports the Turkish Cypriot leadership to harden its positions aiming at refuting all issues which have been agreed, Christofias said.
He noted that in our effort to avert any new damaging deadlocks, we have been constantly assuming new initiatives and submitting proposals. We have been following a flexible policy, in conjunction with a decisive stance to defend values and principles.
Referring to his meetings with the UN Secretary General and the Turkish Cypriot leader, in November 2010 and January 2011, he said we support the framework set out by the UN as provided by Security Council resolutions, as well as the agreed process. We have outlined our positions before the UN Secretary General with a lot of sincerity and clarity. We have made clear that we do not accept the demand of the Turkish Cypriot side to change the procedure that has been agreed between the two sides and the Secretary General. We have asked the Turkish Cypriot side to remain committed to achieving a settlement providing for a bizonal, bicommunal federation, to make clear that we are talking about a state with a single sovereignty, a single citizenship and a single personality.
We expect implementation of what the UNSG has asked, such as linking the issue of property to the issue of territory and the discussion of all seven negotiating chapters, he stressed.
Christofias reiterated that the Greek Cypriot side is not satisfied with the little progress achieved during the negotiations and the hardening of the stance of the Turkish side.
Referring to his recent proposal to conduct a population census for the whole island under the UN Population Fund and other European and international organizations with the participation of experts from both communities, he said that this can help in addressing the crucial issue of Turkish settlers. Unfortunately this proposal has also been rejected by the other side, he noted.
It is obvious that the absence of a solution leads to the consolidation of division and makes the division of the island permanent. Division is detrimental for the country, he stressed, pointing out that the real question is the option between a bizonal bicommunal federation and a division which will destroy the country.
He noted that we are pursuing a settlement that soonest, adding that the settlement must be based on principles so that it can function properly.
Christofias recalled the high level agreements of 1977 and 1979 (between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities) on a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality as provided by UN resolutions, noting that this has been the historic compromise of the Greek Cypriot side.
He said that this goal was reaffirmed during the joint communique of July 8 2006 between the late President Tassos Papadopoulos and former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, noting that all Cyprus Presidents honoured the commitment to a bizonal, bicommunal federation.
President Christofias stressed that we are working to end the occupation and the illegal settling, to avoid division and create new and hopeful prospects for our people through a settlement providing for a federation, with institutions that unite and bring consensus and not a loose federation.
Christofias said that his government had two fundamental goals as regards the resumption of the direct negotiations, to safeguard the negotiating process and to explicitly define the basis of the negotiations.
On the process, he noted that this is Cypriot-owned and rejected any form of arbitration and artificial timeframes, noting that this process protects us from any dangers that we have faced in the past when arbitration and artificial timeframes did not lead to a settlement but to a stalemate.
Noting that the Turkish Cypriot leadership and Turkey have already proposed a change in the process, advocating a four-party or five-party conference, Christofias said that their goal is to upgrade the status of the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus.
He added that if the stance of the Turkish side does not change, there is a danger of being driven to new arbitration or a new stalemate that will allow the promotion of other alternatives for the settlement of the Cyprus problem. As he noted, such a development may lead to the complete exoneration of Turkey.
Referring to the basis of the talks, he said that the two sides reaffirmed their commitment to a settlement providing for a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality as provided by the UN Security Council resolutions. As he pointed out, for the first time, the Turkish Cypriot side has agreed to a single sovereignty, one citizenship and one international personality and this basis has been adopted by a series of UN Security Council resolutions.
President Christofias said that this common, agreed basis allows the Greek Cypriot side to denounce Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglus positions when they are not aligned with what has been agreed. This is what we did in a decisive manner before the UN Secretary General, he added.
He noted that Eroglus positions on various aspects of the Cyprus problem are harder than Talats and this resulted in little progress in the negotiations during his talks with Eroglu.
On certain occasions the Turkish Cypriot sides philosophy is that the negotiations must be conducted as if there were two separate entities on the island, an approach that we will never accept, he said.
The President said that the Greek Cypriot side must not be blamed for this stance of the Turkish Cypriot side, adding that the main reason the Cyprus problem has not been resolved all these years, notwithstanding any possible omissions or mistakes on our part, has been and continues to be the stance of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership.
He also said that the fact that Turkeys role on the world stage has been upgraded has made the Turkish leadership arrogant and cynical.
The international community and in particular the UN and the EU, must not be fooled by theoretical declarations and assurances. Turkey must be assessed by its deed with regard to Cyprus. I appeal to all those who have a duty to play a helpful role in the whole process, to stop willingly or unwillingly giving credence to Turkeys misleading assurances and public declarations for a solution in Cyprus, the President stressed.
He noted that there needs to be an objective assessment of Turkeys declarations and a comparison between its words and its deeds, which are far from the content of UN resolutions, the UN Charter and international law.
Referring to Turkeys EU accession negotiations, he reiterated Cyprus position in favour of Turkey accession as long as Ankara implements its obligations towards the Republic of Cyprus and the EU and contributes to the settlement of the Cyprus problem, ending the illegal occupation of part of the European territory.
He recalled that 18 chapters in EU-Turkey membership talks have been frozen due to Ankaras stance, stressing that we are not seeking to derail Turkeys accession course but everyone must understand that Turkeys accession course cannot be a blank cheque . He also recalled the recent EU progress report on Turkey and the European Council conclusions with regard to Turkey.
Furthermore, Christofias elaborated on his governments foreign policy, noting that Cyprus is today more powerful in the international arena, having achieved important successes. He thanked all countries which support our positions, adopting a position of principle on the international scene, while he also referred to the visits paid to Cyprus during the last year by Pope Benedict, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and German Chancellor Angela Merkel who expressed their support to Cyprus cause.
Referring to the delimitation of Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), he pointed out that this is probably the most important development in recent years, apart from developments regarding Cyprus accession to the EU. He noted that Cyprus is the only country in the region which has very good relations with all its neighbouring countries, except Turkey, recalling agreements on the issue of EEZ signed with Egypt, Israel and Lebanon. Potential exploitation of possible carbon dioxide resources, he noted, constitutes a hopeful prospect of major significance for Cyprus and its people.
Referring to the Turkish Cypriots, the President said that the Turkish Cypriot community is suffering from Turkeys tight embrace and the continuing illegal influx of Turkish settlers, noting that recent rallies and other demonstrations by Turkish Cypriots testify to this.
Our role must be to extend a hand of friendship and cooperation to the Turkish Cypriot community. It is particularly important for them to know that the official Greek Cypriot leadership has the political will for a solution, that they can trust us and they would want to cooperate with us, he said.
He expressed the conviction that so far our moves, our particular relationship with the Turkish Cypriot community have contributed towards this direction.
President Christofias also stressed Cyprus close cooperation with Greece, noting that Greece continues to constitute our main supporter in our effort for reunification and for an end to Turkeys occupation, and thanked the Greek political leadership, the political parties and the people of Greece for their unwavering support.
Concluding his remarks, the President underlined the importance of unity on the domestic front, saying that unity among political forces is a necessary prerequisite to achieve our vision, unity must be built on common goals, we neither want nor seek to silence any different or critical views on our positions, proposals or moves.
 HOUSE PRESIDENT - AHEPAPresident of the House of Representatives Marios Garoyian has expressed his appreciation of the work accomplished by Cypriots abroad and for their constant support to the just struggle of the people of Cyprus to reunify their homeland, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion. An official press release states that Garoyian, who has met an American Hellenic Progressive Association (AHEPA) delegation, headed by AHEPA Supreme President Nicholas Karacostas, briefed them on recent developments in the Cyprus problem. He expressed his disappointment for the poor results of the ongoing negotiations between Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot Leader Dervis Eroglu despite the Greek Cypriot side`s sincere efforts.
Garoyian said that the current stagnation at the negotiating process is due to the intransigence of the Turkish side whose demands fall outside the agreed framework of negotiations and point to a confederal solution on the basis of a so-called new partnership.
Both Karacostas and Supreme President of AHEPA Canada Nick Aroutzidis assured Garoyian of their steady and continuous support to the struggle of the Cyprus people to reunite their country. On his part the House President wished them a successful continuation to their extremely significant work and promised that the House of Representatives will support them in any way possible.
 FINMIN - CORPORATE TAX - EUThe government and the Finance Ministry are making continuous efforts to avoid great challenges and traps which may come from the EU, in relation to a proposed increase of corporate tax in Cyprus, Finance Minister Charilaos Stavrakis has said. A possible corporate tax increase of the existing 10% rate ``would be destructive to our economy... we have many foreign companies which are registered and operate in Cyprus, enjoying low tax rates,`` Stavrakis said, addressing a gathering on Value Added Tax. ``This is a position which the government will defend and fight for with all its strength,`` Stavrakis added. Concerning the economy, Stavrakis said that the 1.7% growth rate projected by the IMF`s World Outlook 2011 compared with the Finance Ministry`s more conservative estimates for a 1.5% growth rate is satisfactory.
He added that public debt is at 61% of GDP, which he described as a very satisfactory position compared with the 84% Eurozone average and referred to the big effort to reduce the budget deficit and achieve Cyprus` targets as set out by the European Commission. ``There are a lot of difficulties and challenges ahead of us,`` he went on to say, pointing out that ``the markets are very nervous and the spreads for Cyprus bonds in the secondary market are on high levels.``
Stavrakis also said that ``the rating agencies, mainly because of the exposure of the Cypriot economy to Greece, have a negative outlook concerning the Cypriot bonds` credit rating.`` ``Our duty, both government and opposition, is to do our utmost to improve public finances and to solve the economy`s structural weaknesses,`` he concluded.
 EU TRAINING EXCERCISE - CYPRUSCyprus has hosted a training exercise of the European Union on civil protection and assistance to affected countries, entitled «Assessment Mission Course», which according to organizers was an absolute success. The training exercise was held in Cyprus for the 15th time by the German federal agency for technical aid (THW), the Civil Defence of the Republic of Cyprus and the non-governmental organization of the Johanniters of Germany, after the project had been awarded by the Civil Protection Unit of the European Commission.
A big number of local departments, necessary to be mobilised in case of a major disaster, participated in the exercise. The exercise aimed to train experts from all member states of the European Union in the best possible way, particularly in assessing the situation and the consequences after a disaster, with a view to sending humanitarian aid to the stricken country.
The participants came from 20 European Union countries. Experienced instructors from various countries were responsible for enriching the knowledge of the trainees on situation assessment issues, coordination, planning, culture, etc.
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