|Friday, 28 February 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-07-15
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 15 July 2009 Issue No: 3245
 PM briefed on planned education reformsPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis met Tuesday with Education Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos at Maximos Mansion, the government headquarters in Athens, while he was also briefed by Primary and Secondary Education Council President Professor George Babiniotis about the discussion underway for the reform and modernization of the education system.
Spiliotopoulos expressed satisfaction because "the political forces and education community officials participating in the dialogue have risen to the occasion, displaying responsibility and consistency and ensuring tangible results." He underlined that "the goal is to observe the timetable set and reach to a point where school education will not be linked with admission to university."
"The goal is to have a flexible curriculum that meets current social needs, while allowing more creative time for schoolchildren," Spiliotopoulos said.
On his part, Professor Babiniotis pointed out that the education system will be reformed so that there is less subject matter, new teaching methods and books that will offer general knowledge to the students, underlining that "we want quality in education."
Babiniotis stated that the goal is to relieve the students and their families of the stress of failure, while giving them more opportunities to be admitted to tertiary education. He also referred to the upgrading of the technical, vocational education and training and to the implementation of teacher evaluation, as well as evaluation of the education system and school units.
 Antonaros: PM did not announce new measuresThe prime minister's statements in Madrid were not an announ-cement of new economic measures as some sped to claim, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros stressed on Tues-day.
Replying to questions, Antonaros said that the premier had referred to government initiatives that were already well known, such as the issue of heavy and hazardous occupations or opening the closed professions.
"These are structural measures that are not a surprise to anyone and do not seek to surprise anyone. On the contrary, they will help make Greek society even more robust and all our initiatives aim in precisely this direction," he said.
In his statements in Madrid, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis had said that Greece faced special problems in addition to the global economic crisis due to the oversize public debt built up by the country over the past decades. He had stressed that these problems had to be tackled and that the government would not hesitated to take measures when and if they became necessary.
 Papandreou criticises governmentMain opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou lashed out at the government on Tuesday in statements he made on the sidelines of the 12th Symi Symposium taking place on the island of Skiathos.
He accused the government of "lawlessness and impunity", of making "uncalculated and erratic decisions" in a state of panic and of "lacking a vision for the citizens".
 Dimitris Papangelopoulos appointed new EYP Director GeneralFormer Assistant Prosecutor of the Athens' Court of Appeals Dimitris Papangelopoulos was appointed director general of the National Information Service (EYP) on Monday night, replacing Ambassador Ioannis Korantis at the helm of the country's intelligence service, by decision of interior minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos.
The appointment of Papangelopoulos to the post is pursuant to the new institutional framework based on Law No 3649/2008, and public interest can be more effectively served by public servants that have his "previous service and indisputable prestige", Pavlopoulos said.
In a statement, Pavlopoulos said that Korantis was replaced after nearly half a decade of successful tenure and immense contribution as director of the EYP.
The interior minister said that Korantis had been instrumental in restoring the prestige of the EYP, which had been irreparably harmed by unhealthy situations such as the Ocalan affair.
The fugitive Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, head of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) had entered Greece illegally in January 1999. Retired Navy Captain Antonis Naxakis had been accused of smuggling Ocalan into Greece in an embarrassing incident for the Greek government, which ultimately led to the Kurdish rebel leader's capture by Turkish authorities in Kenya. Ocalan arrived in Greece from Russia while fleeing capture by Turkish authorities, even though he was not officially welcome in the country. Seeking ways to deal with the problem, which threatened the country's harmonious relations with Turkey, Greek authorities decided to secretly take him to Kenya, where he was eventually caught.
 Gov't on the appointment of the new EYP director generalGovernment spokesman Evangelos Antonaros cited the detailed statement issued by Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos referring to the replacement of Ambassador Ioannis Korantis by former Assistant Prosecutor of the Athens' Court of Appeals Dimitris Papangelopoulos to the post of the National Information Service (EYP) Director General.
Antonaros characterized as "completely unfounded" all references made in the press as regards the reasons that led to the appointment of a new EYP director general.
The main opposition PASOK commented Tuesday on the replacement of Ambassador Ioannis Korantis by former Assistant Prosecutor of the Athens' Court of Appeals Dimitris Papangelopoulos to the post of the National Information Service (EYP) Director General, saying that it "provoked great question marks".
"The replacement of EYP's director general has provoked great question marks. We are certain that the interior minister as well as the government are well aware of the reasons for which they made this replacement," PASOK's alternate spokeswoman Maria Karaklioumi said, adding "what the government wants is the control of undesired leeks."
 Government on housing illegal immigrantsGovernment spokesman Evangelos Antonaros on Tuesday defended the government's record in tackling illegal immigration, in response to questions about the demolition of a makeshift immigrants' camp in the port city of Patras at the weekend.
"The present government is the one that has undertaken specific initiatives for the hundreds of thousands of immigrants that enter our country illegally," he stressed, citing action to build and prepare reception centres for illegal immigrants on the island of Samos, and in the areas of Kyprinos and Patras to house these arrivals.
"They cannot illegally and without control live in areas that are not their own and generate concern, confusion and upheaval for the local population," he added, noting that people that had entered Greece in an illegal way could not then attempt to impose their own terms regarding how and where they should live.
 Demarche over air space violations by Turkish aircraftISTANBUL (ANA-MPA / A. Kourkoulas)
Greece's ambassador to Ankara Fotis Xidas lodged a new demarche with the Turkish foreign ministry on Tuesday, protesting against the violations by Turkish Air Force planes over Greek islets in the eastern Aegean.
Ambassador Xidas lodged the protest with Turkish Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Haydar Berk. A similar protest was lodged by Greek Embassy adviser Stefanos Venizelos on Monday shortly after the violations were committed.
Government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros commented Tuesday that "such incidents are defined as operational and the necessary demarches have already been made by the foreign ministry."
Antonaros made the comment in response to a question by a reporter during the regular press briefing.
 Deputy foreign minister meets Australian politiciansDeputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis on Tuesday received Australian politician Ted Baillieu, the leader of the main opposition party in Victoria State, and Greek-Australian state MP Nick Kotsiras.
The meeting confirmed the ever-improving progress of bilateral Greek-Austalian relations and the important role played by Australia's Greek community in ensuring ties of friendship between the two countries.
 Symi Symposium discusses green developmentThe 12th Symi Symposium taking place on the island of Skia-thos, debated on Tuesday the model of green development, a pro-posal contained in Greece's main opposition PASOK's gover-nment programme.
The debate's conclusion was that Greece "is capable of becoming Europe's leading force in the sector of renewable energy sour-ces", something which could offer to the country the possibility of changing its image internationally, as PASOK President George Papandreou underlined.
 Syriza demands a parliamentary debate on CyprusRadical Left Coalition (Syriza) parliamentary group president Alekos Alavanos on Tuesday asked for a Parliamentary debate, on a party representatives level, on the Cyprus question.
In a letter addressed to House President Dimitris Sioufas, Alavanos said that on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the coup d'etat and the Turkish invasion and occupation of the northern part of the Republic of Cyprus and given the ongoing intercommunal talks for the finding of a solution to the protracted political problem of the island republic, "some time must be given for paying tribute to the fighters of democracy and the unity of Cyprus and for debating on these issues...with the participation of the foreign minister."
 Tsipras, Kouvelis visit Data Protection AuthorityCoalition of the Left, of Movements and Ecology (SYNASPISMOS) President Alexis Tsipras and Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) parliamentary spokesman Fotis Kouvelis visited the Hellenic Data Protection Authority on Tuesday and met with its president Christos Geraris.
Tsipras expressed concern over the "recent violations of article 19 of the Constitution and existing legislation that concerns the protection of privacy, particularly in the sector of electronic communications."
On his part, Kouvelis stressed that "the government cannot legislate without taking under consideration the Data Protection Authority viewpoint as dictated by the Constitution."
 Papoulias receives award-winning scientistPresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday received 28-year-old computer algorithm researcher Dr. Constantine Daskalakis, a Greek academic currently working for MIT, who was recently awarded for a doctoral dissertation that essentially questions whether Nash equilibria are an accurate description of interactions between individuals in all cases.
In his paper, Daskalakis provided new insights into some of the dominant economic theories that have been based on the concepts developed by brilliant but unstable mathematician John Nash in the mid-20th century, as well as other complex systems.
"You represent another Greece and this Greece is very strong," Papoulias said, congratulating Dr. Daskalakis and his teacher at the University of California, Berkeley, Prof. Christos Papadimitriou that accompanied him.
As Papadimitriou stressed during the meeting, "many theories based on equilibria in economics must now be changed in order for there to be realistic solutions. Today, in the age of the Internet, we must think and introduce new calculations," he said.
Daskalakis won the 2008 Doctoral Dissertation Award from the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) for his work on computing Nash equilibria.
In this, he examines whether rational, self-interested individuals can arrive, through their interactions, at a state where no single one of them would be better off switching strategies unless others did so as well. Such a state is called a Nash equilibrium, in honor of John Nash, who defined it, and is traditionally used in Game Theory as a rigorous way of predicting the behavior of people in conflict situations.
Daskalakis showed that in complex systems the Nash equilibrium is computationally unachievable in some cases. This result suggests that the Nash equilibrium may not be an accurate prediction of behavior in all situations and emphasizes the need for new, computationally meaningful methods for modeling strategic behavior in complex systems such as those encountered in financial markets, online systems, and social networks.
 Greece, Romania promote energy securityGreece and Romania on Tuesday agreed on a common initiative towards energy security in Europe. During a meeting in Bucarest, between Romanian Economy Minister Andriean Videanu and Greek Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis, the foundations were laid for adopting a common stance on a project to transport and supply natural gas via Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary, as a common project, "as a single pipeline", as the Greek minister described it.
Speaking to reporters, Hatzidakis said this development was of particular importance since it coincided with the official signing of a memorandum of understanding between Greek and Bulgaria to build a natural gas pipeline between Komotini and Stara Zagora.
An agreement to deal natural pipeline projects between Greece and Bulgaria, Bulgaria and Romania, Romania and Hungary, as a single project -financed by the European Union, would enhance cooperation between the four countries and strengthen their geostrategic position, the Greek minister said.
The Romanian minister said his country would deal this pipeline project as a single project aimed to benefit all four countries and stressed that Romania would participate in any project aimed at promoting common interests.
The Greek minister was heading a strong business delegation, including D. Kopelouzos (Prometheus), G.Spyrou (Terna), Chr. Poseidon (PPC), D.Benroubi (Endesa Hellas), A.Kallitsantzi (Ellaktor) and Th.Fessas (Infoquest).
The Romanian minister welcomed the Greek delegation and referred to the vast opportunities offered by his country in the electricity energy sector.
 Greece, Bulgaria sign LNG supply agreementDESFA, Greece's Natural Gas National System Manager, and Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) on Tuesday signed a memo-randum of understanding aimed at allowing the transpor-tation of natural gas from Greece to Bulgaria through the Revithousa LNG terminal and the Natural Gas National System.
Under the memorandum of understanding, signed by Panagiotis Kanellopoulos (chief executive of DESFA) and Galina Tosheva (BEH's chief executive), the Greek company said there was available supply of natural gas in Revithousa that could be used for the Bulgarian market, with an estimated supply of up to 1.0 billion cubic metres of natural gas annually.
The memorandum follows an agreement signed on April 24 between Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis and Economy and Energy Minister Petar Dimitrov, envisaging the construction of a new double-flow natural gas pipeline. The new project, pipeline IGB, was included in a recovery plan of the European economy with a community financial contribution of 45 million euros. The 160-km long pipeline, stretching from Komotini in Greece to Star Zagora in Bulgaria, will be constructed by a consortium of IGI Poseidon (Edison and DEPA) and Bulgaria BEH.
 Tourism minister meets Turkish counterpartISTANBUL (ANA-MPA - A. Kourkoulas)
Greek Tourism Development Minister Costas Markopoulos had a meeting in Ankara on Tuesday with his Turkish counterpart Ertugrul Gunay. According to local media reports, the two ministers discussed ways in which to improve bilateral relations between Greece and Turkey in the tourism sector, in view of the 8th Tourism Symposium that is being organised by both countries in October.
 Tunisian Ambassador on working visit to CreteThe Ambassador of the Republic of Tunisia in Athens, Mr. Moncef Hajeri, will be on the island Crete from July 15 to 18, to investigate prospects for developing economic and cultural relations as well as to give an impetus to the tourist field between Tunisia and Greece.
Ambassador Hajeri and his spouse will attend, furthermore, a lunch and cocktail organized by the Commander of the Tunisian Vessel of Research and Formation «"Khaireddine", docked Souda, on Friday, July 17.
 EIB loan agreement for Thessaloniki MetroThe European Investment Bank (EIB) on Tuesday announced the signing of a loan agreement, worth 250 million euros, to fund works by the Thessaloniki Metro, completing a financial facility agreement -worth 650 million euros- approved by EIB in 2005.
The contract was signed by EIB's vice-chairman Plutarhos Sakellaris, and George Yiannis, chairman of Attico Metro SA, in Luxembourg. Sakellaris said the loan will support construction works for the Thessaloniki metro, a project that will improve daily lives of inhabitants and the business climate in the city.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) on Tuesday announced the signing of a loan agreement, worth 250 million euros, to fund works by the Thessaloniki Metro, completing a financial facility agreement -worth 650 million euros- approved by EIB in 2005.
The contract was signed by EIB's vice-chairman Plutarhos Sakellaris, and George Yiannis, chairman of Attico Metro SA, in Luxembourg. Sakellaris said the loan will support construction works for the Thessaloniki metro, a project that will improve daily lives of inhabitants and the business climate in the city.
 Unemployment jumps to 9.4 pct in AprilGreece's unemployment rate jumped to 9.4 pct of the workforce in April, from 7.7 pct in April 2008, the National Statistical Service said on Tuesday.
The statistics agency, in a report, said the number of unemployed people totaled 466,878 in April, while the number of employed people totaled 4,482,264 in the month.
Women were mainly hit by unemployment (13.3 pct in April 2009 from 11.8 pct in April 2008), while unemployment among men was 6.7 pct and 4.8 pct, respectively. The unemployment rate among young people, aged 15-24, was 25.2 pct, up from 20.4 pct in April 2008.
The southern Aegean (20.1 pct), western Macedonia (15 pct) and the Ionian Islands (12.1 pct) recorded the highest unemployment rates, while eastern Macedonia-Thrace, western Greece (8.3 pct) and the northern Aegean (7.0 pct) recorded the lowest unemployment rates.
 Industrial import prices downIndustrial import prices fell 4.5 pct in May compared with the same month last year, after an increase of 10.1 pct recorded in the previous 12-month period in 2008, the National Statistical Service said on Tuesday.
The statistics agency said the industrial import price index rose 1.6 pct in May from April, after an increase of 2.5 pct in the corresponding period last year.
 PASOK urges government to fully use first option in NBG sharesMain opposition PASOK's sector head for economic issues, Louka Katseli, on Tuesday said the government had an obligation to fully use the state sector's first option rights during a share capital increase planned by the National Bank of Greece.
"We consider it self-evident that the Greek Public Sector will fully exercise its right to a first option arising from the posses-sion, either directly or indirectly (via social insurance funds, endowments, other public and social bodies) of shares in NBG," Katseli stressed.
PASOK also expected the Greek State, in its capacity as a privileged shareholder of NBG, would fully exercise its first option if any shares remained after the shareholders had exercised their first option rights, she added, urging the finance ministry to make a commitment to this effect.
 Greek stocks jumped 3.12 pct on TuesdayGreek stocks recovered strongly in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, following a strong performance on international markets in the previous day. The composite index rose 3.12 pct to end at 2,169.34 points, with turnover rising to 231.9 million euros, of which 19.7 million were block trades.
Most sectors moved upwards, with the Banks (7.21 pct), Health (4.34 pct) and Personal/Home Products (4.11 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Travel (2.16 pct) and Commerce (1.47 pct) suffered losses.
The FTSE 20 index rose 4.08 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 3.35 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index rose 2.86 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 157 to 50 with another 54 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +1.89%
Personal & Household: +4.11%
Raw Materials: +2.74%
Travel & Leisure: -2.16%
Food & Beverages: +0.32%
Financial Services: +3.48%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, HBC Coca Cola and OTE.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 7.95
Public Power Corp (PPC): 15.51
HBC Coca Cola: 14.62
Hellenic Petroleum: 7.16
National Bank of Greece: 18.08
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 7.55
Bank of Piraeus: 7.31
Titan Cement Company: 18.30
 ADEX closing reportThe September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 1.42 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover at 66.747 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index was 10,041 contracts, worth 54.273 million euros, with 25,390 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 11,455 contracts worth 12.474 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (4,321), followed by OTE (493), OPAP (446), Piraeus Bank (432), GEK (729), Alpha Bank (893), Mytilineos (399), Cyprus Bank (1,110) and Hellenic Postbank (989).
 Foreign Exchange rates - WednesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.410
Pound sterling 0.864
Danish kroner 7.505
Swedish kroner 11.060
Japanese yen 131.38
Swiss franc 1.528
Norwegian kroner 9.107
Canadian dollar 1.614
Australian dollar 1.783
 Three killed in train/truck collision, no injury in second collisionThree people were killed in a collsion between a train and a small truck outside Komotini on Tuesday morning, while a second collision between a train and a car just a few hours later near Veria was fortunately without injury.
In the first accident, three people were killed in a collision between a train and small truck outside Komotini, causing the derailment of the train.
The driver of the truck, who had violated a guarded crossing, was killed together with the two other passengers in the truck.
No train passenger was injured.
In the second incident a few hours later, a car violated the protective bars at a train crossing near the Gallikos River along the Thessaloniki-Veria old national highway and collided with an oncoming train.
Only material damage was caused in the second accident. Earlier reports had reported a fatal injury of the car driver, which fortunately was not the case.
 Five suspects in human trafficking ring jailed pending trialFive of 25 people arrested on July 8 in a police operation to dismantle one of the largest human trafficking rings in Eastern Europe and the Balkans were incarcerated pending trial on Monday night after testifying before the 20th examining magistrate.
The 25 suspects, including four active and retired police officers, were arrested for involvement in the ring, which was particularly active in the economic and sexual exploitation of women.
Among the five people ordered incarcerated by the examining magistrate and prosecutor, is an active police officer as well as a retired police officer, both of whom are believed to be the masterminds behind the ring's operation and activities.
They face charges of setting up a criminal organisation and procuring, while businessmen and private employees are also implicated in the ring.
The remaining 20 suspects, nine of which testified on Monday and 11 on Sunday, were released on 3-6,000 euros bonds and restrictive terms including prohibition of their leaving the country and the requirement to appear regularly at a local police station.
The case was solved after a long investigation by the Attica Security police department against human trafficking, a part of the larger department against organised crime. This culminated in a large police operation Tuesday last week, involving more than 150 police officers and the Delta Team.
More than 200 people were detained and raids were conducted on eight night clubs, four brothels, two yachts and 10 houses. A total of 25 people were placed under arrest, while 42 face charges in Greece and abroad.
 Salvation campaign for centuries-old olive treesHundreds of unregistered olive trees on the southern Aegean island of Crete, some of them thousands of years old, have become "victims" of human activities like public works projects and building construction, prompting the reaction of 35 cultural and environmentalist associations.
The collective effort, supported by the Technological Educational Institute (TEI) of Crete, focuses on recording the olive trees and their ages in order to be salvaged. The goal set is to draw up a map of Crete with the regions where the thousands-of-years-old trees are located.
Furthermore, a documentary translated into different languages will be ready by the summer of 2010 referring to the historical olive grove of Crete.
Four olive trees that have been confirmed to be more than 1,000 years old are located in the greater region of Viannos in the prefecture of Heraklion, where tens of olive trees of historical value can also be found. Centuries-old "psilolies" olive trees grown in the region constitute a proof that extra virgin olive oil was produced there hundreds and probably thousands of years ago.
 Man arrested on child pornography chargesA 27-year-old man was arrested in Thessaloniki for possession and trafficking of child pornograpy following an investigation held in collaboration with Europol.
The suspect was arrested by the Electronic Crimes Squad after posting sexually explicit photographs with small children in a specific website on the internet.
A search in his house in the district of Sykies revealed 400 files, including photographs and video footage with pornographic material involving minors, two hard drives and a laptop computer.
 Sithonia fire still blazingThe wildfire that broke out in the wooded coastal region of Lagomandra, in Sithonia, Halkidiki in northern Greece is still in progress, the Fire Brigade said on Tuesday afternoon. Efforts to put out the blaze were being hampered by frequent changes in the direction of the wind but it was not threatening residences or agricultural land, authorities said.
The fire-fighting force had been reinforced on the ground and in the air, with dozens of firemen and volunteers battling the flames, while six water-bombing aircraft and two helicopters were dropping water from above.
 The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceDimitris Papaggelopoulos' appointment to the helm of the EYP (National Information Service), revelations of the activities of the organised crime and hired killers gang that had abducted shipowner Pericles Panagopoulos in January from EYP phone surveillance tapes, and prime minister Costas Karamanlis' message to Turkey that it must abide by the illegal migrants readmission protocol were the main front-page items in Athens' newspapers on Tuesday.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "We will combat crime with the EYP - Prokopis Pavlopoulos (interior minister) appoints Papaggelopoulos head of the Service".
APOGEVMATINI: "The number of tenured teacher appointments increases - Education minister Aris Spiliotopoulos studying the abolition of the practice of hourly-wage teachers".
AVGHI: "Forward, all together - SYN (Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology party) for SYRIZA (SYN-led Coalition of the Radical Left parliamentary alliance), from the party's central political committee".
AVRIANI: "Green light for sweeping police operations targeting organised crime and terrorism".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "Ankara responded with airspace violations in the Aegean, as premier Karamanlis, in Madrid, sent a message to the Turks to respect the illegal migrant readmission protocol".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "What's behind the change in the EYP leadership - Sudden dismissal of the director (and his replacement) following the success in breaking up the organised crime syndicate".
ESTIA: "Irresponsible stance by PASOK - Constant pressure for early general elections".
ETHNOS: "The phone taps brought...terror-itch - EYP director 'beheaded' despite the dismantling of the '16-member gang'."
KATHIMERINI: "EYP in the battle against crime, terrorism - Papaggelopoulos at the helm of the Service".
LOGOS: "Government wants to put emphasis on the issue of terrorism - Sudden replacement of EYP director, with Papaggelopoulos taking over the helm".
RIZOSPASTIS: "EU-Government: Uniform anti-popular policy against Greeks and migrants".
TA NEA: "The Vlastos (one of the two leaders of the 16-member organised crime/hired killers gang recently arrested) tapes beheaded the EYP - Two ministers called for the director's dismissal".
TO VIMA: "EYP as in...FBI - It is taking over the organised crime and terrorism activities - EYP director Korantis resigns, his position taken over by Papaggelopoulos".
VRADYNI: "Four major changes upgrade the TEI (Technical Educational Institutions) - The education ministry bill to be tabled in parliament within the week".
 Christofias: negotiations the only way to a solutionNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
The President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias stressed on Tuesday that the only way to find a solution to the Cyprus problem is through the negotiating process, adding that a solution must be viable and functional, based on UN principles.
Speaking to Cypriot children who live in the US and Australia, President Christofias said that "we are trying together with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat to reunite our homeland".
He added that the solution of the problem should be acceptable by both communities, viable, functional and based on UN principles.
He explained that the solution aims to create a federal state, which will respect human rights. He added that while the central government will have increased responsibilities, the constituent states would not have greater powers than the federal government.
He also pointed out that the federal state will have a common economy and will safeguard human rights for all its citizens.
Referring to the ongoing UN-led direct talks, Christofias said that on some issues there is convergence of views while on others the leaders disagree.
"We will continue the negotiations because the only way to find a solution to the Cyprus problem is through negotiations", he said.
President Christofias told the children who visited him at the Presidential Palace to assure their parents that "the President is working on a solution that ensures the rights of all Cypriots, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, and that Cyprus does not need any guarantees or guarantors of its security".
Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus have been engaged in UN-led direct negotiations since September 2008, aiming to reunite the island.
 Cyprus FM: A solution must withstand the test of timeLARNACA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Statements made by Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat in Ankara on Monday are not conducive to the aim of the negotiations which is a federal solution, said here Tuesday Foreign Minister Marcos Kyprianou.
In statements before departing for Sharm El Sheikh to attend the Non-Aligned Movement summit, Kyprianou was invited to comment on Talat's remarks on Monday after talks in Ankara with Turkish President Abdullah Gul where he had said that a solution to the Cyprus issue should be put to referenda by the end of the year.
"We should not be surprised by the remarks expressed. These are the same Turkish positions which are neither constructive nor create to a good climate", said Kyprianou.
The aim, he added, is a "real federation and not a partnership of two states", noting that the reference for a solution to the Cyprus by December was a wish. "We are the first people to want a solution the soonest possible because we are the victims of the invasion and occupation since 1974 but we want a solution that is viable and that will withstand the test of time and will not collapse."
For this reason, he added, to achieve such solution, "we must dedicate as much time is necessary, adding that the delay is solely due to Talat and the positions he is bringing to the negotiating table which do not comply with the aim of a federation, requiring greater discussion and without achieving the results we had wished for."
On the NAM meeting, Kyprianou said that it is part of Cyprus' activities in non-EU countries because Õwe believe that we must revitalize and strengthen our relations with countries which are traditionally friendly with Cyprus.
He also said Cyprus has been a founding member of the NAM and has stood by Cyprus on numerous occasions.
Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus have been engaged in UN-led direct negotiations since September 2008, with an aim to reunite the island.
President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat began the discussion of issues relating to guarantees, during their 36th meeting on July 9.
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