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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-04-28

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The European Commission has proposed to include in the 2012 EU draft budget additional 25 million euro of funding for the Turkish Cypriot community, a statement by Androulla Kaminara, Head of the European Commission Representation in Cyprus, has said.

    These funds will build on the 264.5 million euro aid funded under the 2006-2010 budgets, which have been fully contracted, and the 28 million euro Aid Programme under the 2011 budget, which is currently being implemented.

    The draft budget now goes to the EU budgetary authorities (the European Parliament and the Council) which must decide on it before the end of the year.

    Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule, in remarks said that this proposal once again underlines the commitment of the EU to a Cyprus settlement. These funds represent a strong signal that the EU expects that the talks towards reunification of the island would be concluded successfully``.

    The funds are planned to be used to support reunification in a variety of sectors ranging from education to civil society, from rural development to the environment. Funding has also been earmarked for confidence-building measures including inter alia in the field of cultural heritage, support to the Committee on Missing Persons and opening of new crossing points after agreement by the two leaders.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Peace talks are currently underway between Cypriot President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, under UN auspices, to find a negotiated settlement that will reunite the country.


    Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maria Damanaki said that dialogue and the peaceful solution of differences was the only way forward regarding problems in the Mediterranean, including the harassment of Cypriot fishermen by the Turkish occupation army.

    Speaking at a joint press conference with Cypriot Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment Demetris Eliades, following talks in Nicosia, Damanaki said the aim of the European Commission was to place maritime issues in the context of talks regarding Turkey`s EU accession course, adding that in each case Turkey will be judged by its response to these issues.

    Eliades noted that the Turkish occupation and the violation of the rights of the Republic of Cyprus and its people by Turkey was not in line with the acquis communautaire or any concept of international law, and expressed satisfaction that Damanaki was reiterating the position of the Commission for the solution of problems on the basis of European and international law.

    The Cypriot Minister said Damanaki was visiting Cyprus to prepare for Cyprus` presidency of the EU during the second half of 2012, adding that one of the major issues to be handled by the Cypriot presidency was the reform of the common fisheries policy and the European Fisheries Fund.

    Eliades also referred to the full absorption of EU funds by Cyprus in the fisheries sector, and noted that the fishing shelter in Zygi, which will be inaugurated on Friday, was one of the largest fishery infrastructure projects to be completed in Cyprus, and was built with community funds.


    Bilateral relations, the Middle East peace process and the situation in North Africa and the Middle East were discussed here today between Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou and his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman.

    Speaking after their meeting, Kyprianou said that he communicates frequently with Lieberman to discuss bilateral ties and issues of regional interest and importance.

    Relations between the two countries are at a very good level, both on political and economic fields, and we have recently had the visit of the President of the Republic of Cyprus to the state of Israel, he said.

    Kyprianou noted that during todays meeting they had the opportunity to discuss and overview bilateral relations. At the same time we touched upon regional developments, which are very important to both countries. We talked about the Middle East peace process and its prospects and developments in North Africa and other countries of the Middle East, he added.

    The Cypriot FM referred to a meeting with the Israeli FM and with several other European Foreign Ministers, which will take place in Limassol tomorrow. We have tomorrow the opportunity with some other European colleagues to exchange views in a very informal way on various regional and international issues. This will be a possibility for us on the European side to hear a different perspective and have the opportunity to have an exchange of views with no agenda, no formalities, he added.

    In his remarks to the press, Lieberman said we discussed our bilateral relations. We have a lot of issues on the bilateral agenda and I am happy for this, adding that tourism and economic cooperation are on the agenda.

    We have enjoyed the historical visit of the President of Cyprus to Israel. We are really satisfied with our bilateral relations on a political level and on an economic level, he added.

    Lieberman said Israel is monitoring regional developments.


    Malta has expressed its solidarity and support to Cyprus as regards its efforts to reach a solution of the Cyprus problem.

    In statements after a meeting in Nicosia between Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou and Maltese Foreign Minister Tonio Borg, the Maltese FM expressed the solidarity of his country towards Cyprus and assured that Malta would always be on the side of Cyprus.

    He said that Malta is very much concerned about the Cyprus issue and expressed hope that there will be better developments in the near future, noting that certain things have not moved fast enough as regards the Cyprus talks.

    I can assure Cyprus and the Cypriot government that Malta will be on their side, he stressed.

    The Cypriot FM thanked Malta for the support it offers to Cyprus for the solution of the Cyprus problem but also within the EU.

    They both talked about a meeting that will take place tomorrow in the coastal town of Limassol with the participation of Foreign Ministers of Mediterranean countries, saying that the meeting would be an informal one, during which they will have an open exchange of views on issues of mutual concern in the Mediterranean region.

    The Maltese FM said that the Limassol meeting becomes even more important given the fact that the Union for the Mediterranean is struggling to move on and we need to give it a new injection of life.

    He expressed hope that tomorrows meeting will mark the beginning of an Informal Group of Mediterranean countries, not against someone, but in favor of something, in favor of coordinating our positions as regards the Mediterranean.

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