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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 06-11-02

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja has said that efforts to find a solution that will enable the uninterrupted continuation of Turkey`s accession negotiations and improve the situation of both communities in Cyprus will continue, despite the fact that it has not been possible to arrange a meeting between the Finnish EU Presidency and all parties concerned before the European Commission`s next report on Turkey that will be issued on November 8.

    ``The Finnish EU Presidency has had discussions with all parties on issues concerning Turkey`s accession process and questions related to direct trade between the EU and the northern part of Cyprus. Our aim has been to find a solution that enables the uninterrupted continuation of Turkey`s accession negotiations and improves the situation of both communities in Cyprus``, Tuomioja said according to a press release issued by the Finnish Presidency.

    He added that ``to this end, we have been prepared to arrange a round of talks between the Presidency and all parties in Finland. Unfortunately, this has not been possible before the Commission`s next report on Turkey will be issued on November 8, but our efforts to find a solution naturally continue.``

    Tuomioja also noted that ``the Presidency continues talks at political level on Friday, when Minister Tuomioja will meet the leader of the Turkish Cypriot Community Mehmet Ali Talat in Brussels.``

    A spokesperson of the Finnish Embassy in Cyprus told CNA that efforts will continue until the EU Summit in December.


    The Finnish Presidency`s decision to call-off consultations in Finland with all parties concerned, with a view to avert any crisis in EU-Turkish relations, seems to be the result of the positions and terms set out by the Turkish side, Cypriot Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardis has said, adding that the government will continue consultations with the EU Finnish Presidency in a constructive manner.

    In a written statement, Pashiardis said that the government has been officially informed by Finnish presidency that no proximity consultations will take place on the Finnish initiative, adding that the Presidency said that it will continue its efforts.

    ``We understand that this development is due to the positions and the terms presented by the Turkish side, which with its whole stance has rendered the holding of proximity consultations unachievable,`` the spokesman added.


    Director of the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) Leonidas Leonidou, testifying on Thursday before the Commission of Inquiry into the causes of an Helios Airways air crash in Greece in August 2005, said the content of a letter the Department received on Wednesday from Ajet, former Helios Airways, was such that commanded the immediate action on behalf of the state, as this was expressed with the immobilisation of an Ajet airplane at Larnaca Airport.

    Asked why the CAD had not acted earlier, since Ajet owed the state some two million pounds (one Cyprus pound is trading at about 1.73 euros), Leonidou said that ``the facts were different then but since yesterday they changed greatly.``

    He clarified however that the issue of money was not the only reason for the decision but new evidence, such as the wording of a letter sent by Ajet to CAD was such that ``commanded an immediate action on our part and this is what happened.``

    Leonidou said the company owes over two million pounds to the state and that the CAD was in contact with the Law Office over the Department`s actions.

    During Thursday`s procedures before the Commission, headed by former Supreme Court Judge Panayiotis Kallis, the issue of the report by the Greek Air Accident Investigation and Aviation Safety Board under Akrivos Tsolakis was raised by Araouzos, who asked Kallis to call Tsolakis to testify. Kallis dismissed the request.


    Cypriot Minister of Communications and Works Haris Thrasou said on Thursday that the air operator certificate of Ajet, former Helios Airways, had been recalled, noting that the government was obliged to take all necessary measures to protect the interests of the state and to exert all possible pressure on Ajet to fulfill its obligations.

    Thrasou said that the aim of the state was not to confiscate the airplane, the taking off of which was obstructed on Wednesday, but ``from the moment Ajet changed its decision overnight regarding its flight schedules and its activities, we are obliged to take all measures to protect the interests of the state and exert all possible pressure on this company to meet its obligations.``

    He said that Ajet`s air operator certificate has already been recalled and ``it cannot carry out flights but it can through other companies, but not with its own aircraft and flights.``

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