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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 04-03-12
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 Boucher: everybody should take Annan plan as seriously as we do
Boucher: everybody should take Annan plan as seriously as we do
By Demetris Apokis
Washington, Mar 12 (CNA) -- The US believes the Annan plan for a Cyprus solution is workable, it provides a good and fair solution to all the people on the island and everybody should take it seriously and try to reach an agreement, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher has said.
Responding to questions he said US Secretary of State Colin Powell had discussed with his Greek counterpart Petros Molyviatis, congratulated him on his new appointment, ''and then immediately they plunged into business, talked about Cyprus''.
''The Secretary welcomed the statement that the Greek government has issued, encouraging progress in the talks. And they'll be keeping in touch I'm sure on the issue as we move forward'', he noted.
Asked to comment on letters from Congress to Secretary Powell and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, expressing concerns that if certain key issues are not changed the Annan plan would be unworkable, Boucher said: ''We think it is workable. We think that the additional discussions that have been held and understandings that are being worked on can add to it, make it even more workable. We think it provides a good and fair solution to all the people on the island. And we think everybody should take it as seriously as we do and try to reach agreement to go forward''.
He added ''in terms of congressional correspondence, anything directed to us we'll reply to directly to the people who wrote it''.
 Europarliament adopts report on canditate countries1035:CYPRRESS:02 á Europarliament adopts report on canditate countries
Strasbourg, Mar 12 (CNA) -- Cyprus will join the European Union, as a whole, on 1 May 2004, with the acquis communautaire being implemented in the Turkish-occupied northern part of the island after a solution to the Cyprus problem is found.
This is the position approved by the European Parliament whose plenary session adopted yesterday a comprehensive monitoring report by rapporteur Elmar Brok on the state of preparedness for EU membership of the ten candidate countries, including Cyprus.
The report, passed with 382 votes in favour (17 EuroMP's voted against and 14 abstained), notes that ''the Union is seeking to ensure that the whole of Cyprus can accede'' expressing satisfaction that the negotiations have been restarted on 10 February in New York under the auspices of the Secretary General of the UN and that the latter has fixed for the two sides a strict calendar in order to arrive and at a definite solution before 1 May''.
However, the Europarliament underlines that, under the Accession Treaty, signed in Athens on 16 April 2003, Cyprus as a whole will join the Union on 1 May 2004 ''but the acquis communautaire will not be enforced in the northern part of the island until a political solution has been found''.
The Euro MP's also agree totally with the Commission's political assessment that ''a failure to reach agreement on Cyprus could pose a serious obstacle to Turkey's European ambitions''.
''Although a solution does not constitute a condition for Turkish accession, the Cyprus question thus amounts to a major stumbling block in Turkey's path and a political test of its European resolve'', note the European Parliamentarians who consider it ''hard to imagine that Turkey could join the Union when it refuses to recognise a Union Member State''.
 No progress at talks, says Cyprus President
No progress at talks, says Cyprus President
Nicosia, Mar 12 (CNA) -- ''All our proposals aim to improve the functionality of the Annan plan and we do not ask to take anything from the Turkish Cypriots,'' Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos said today.
Responding to questions before his daily meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash he said there is no progress at the direct talks which started mid February with a view at reaching a negotiated agreement in time to allow a reunited Cyprus to join the European Union on 1 May this year.
''If you ask me whether there is progress or not, at least I at the negotiating table did not see any progress. I don't know if Mr. De Soto (Annan's Special Adviser on Cyprus) has other information from other sources,'' said President Papadopoulos.
As regards to reports that the Greek Cypriot side will gain on the issue of functionality but lose on the issue of bizonality (Turkey favours strengthened bizonality) the Cypriot President said: ''All our proposals seek to improve functionality and we do not ask to take anything from the Turkish Cypriots.''
Referring to a four-party meeting (Greek Cypriot side, Turkish Cypriot side, Greece, Turkey) envisaged by the Annan plan, President Papadopoulos expressed the readiness of the Greek Cypriot side to participate and confirmed it will take place ''somewhere in Switzerland''.
President Papadopoulos will brief this afternoon the leaders of political parties over the talks and exchange views with them prior to his visit to Athens where he will hold talks
 US Congress members express Cyprus concerns to Powell, Annan
US Congress members express Cyprus concerns to Powell, Annan
By Demetris Apokis
Washington, Mar 12 (CNA) -- ''There are certain provisions in the current Annan plan that could render it unworkable and should be revised'' members of the US Congress note in letters to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and US Secretary of State Colin Powell.
In their letters dated 12 March, Congressman Michael Bilirakis and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney express great satisfaction over the resumption of the direct UN-sponsored Cyprus talks but also their concerns on certain key issues, which are currently being discussed as part of the Annan plan.
 Harmonisation is progressing well, despite extra work due to talks
Harmonization is progressing well, despite extra work due to talks
By Athina Arsalidou
Nicosia, Mar 12 (CNA) -- Cyprus Harmonisation Coordinator, Takis Hadjidemetriou, has stressed that the island's harmonisation process with EU laws is progressing very satisfactory, despite delays due to the extra work for the Republic's Law Office, that emerged as a result of the ongoing UN-led direct talks aimed to resolve the Cyprus problem.
In an interview with CNA, Hadjidemetriou said an amount of 200 harmonisation bills is still to be voted by the island's House of Representatives, 56 of which are of top priority.
He expressed the view that the House Plenary will be able to pass all 200 bills by the end of April.
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 Top UN envoy to begin separate intensive consultations sides
Top UN envoy to begin separate intensive consultations with sides
Nicosia, Mar 12 (CNA) -- The UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, has informed the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides that he intends to have intensive consultations with each side separately.
''┴t today's meeting with the two leaders, Mr. de Soto indicated he intended to begin a series of intensive consultations with each side separately,'' Brian Kelly, UNFICYP Spokesman, told CNA today.
He also said that de Soto ''informed the leaders that he believed this was the best way to facilitate forward movement on the core issues given the difficulties of formulating in the direct format a package of trade offs to improve the plan.''
 Irish Presidency calls Cyprus sides to redouble efforts for solution
Irish Presidency calls Cyprus sides to redouble efforts for solution
Nicosia, Mar 12 (CNA) - The Irish Presidency of the European Union has called upon the two sides in Cyprus to redouble their efforts in the negotiating process currently underway in Nicosia in order to reach a settlement of the Cyprus problem.
According to an EU presidency press release, Taoiseach and President of the European Council Bertie Ahern met with Cypriot Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides, who briefed him on the current state of the UN-led negotiations, which may lead to a united Cyprus joining the EU on May 1st.
 Papadopoulos sends message of condolences to King of Spain
Papadopoulos sends message of condolences to King of Spain
Nicosia, Mar 12(CNA) - Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos sent yesterday a message to King of Spain Juan Carlos on the occasion of the bombings in Madrid.
 Iacovou sends message of condolences to Spanish counterpart
Iacovou sends message of condolences to Spanish counterpart
Nicosia, Mar 12 (CNA) - Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs George Iacovou has sent a message of condolences to his Spanish counterpart Ana Palacio, regarding the terrorist attack in Madrid, which resulted in the loss of innocent human lives.
In his message, Iacovou says it was with shock and profound sorrow that he received the sad news about the horrific bomb blasts in train wagons in Madrid.
 Papadopoulos stresses need for progress
Papadopoulos stresses need for progress
Nicosia, Mar 12 (CNA) -- The Greek Cypriot side wants to see progress in the UN-led talks and have the differences between the positions of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides on core issues bridged, Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos said here today, stressing that this means the least possible contribution to a settlement of the next phases of the negotiations.
 Papadopoulos sends message of condolences to Spanish Premier
Papadopoulos sends message of condolences to Spanish Premier
Nicosia, Mar 12 (CNA) - Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos sent yesterday a message to Prime Minister of Spain Jose Maria Aznar on the occasion of the bombings in Madrid.
In his message to the Spanish Prime Minister, President Papadopoulos says it was with profound sorrow and abhorrence that he had been informed of the terrible terrorist attacks in Madrid, which resulted in the death of a large number of innocent people and the injuring of many more.
 Tatarstan minister to visit Cyprus
Tatarstan Minister to visit Cyprus
Nicosia, Mar 12 (CNA) -- Minister of Trade and Foreign Economic cooperation of the Republic of Tatarstan of the Russian Federation Hafiz Salikhov will be in Cyprus next week for a brief working visit.
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