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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-03-04

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Newly elected Cypriot President Demetris Christofias has arrived in Athens for a working visit, during which he will meet with his Greek counterpart Karolos Papoulias, the Greek Premier Kostas Karamanlis and the leaders of the Greek political parties.

    The President was welcomed at the airport Eleftherios Venizelos during a red carpet official ceremony, by Deputy Foreign Minister of Greece Theodoros Kassimis. Present to welcome the new President of the Republic were also the Ambassador of Cyprus to Greece George Georgis and other officials.

    In the evening he will attend a dinner hosted in his honour by his Greek counterpart Karolos Papoulias at the Presidential Palace.

    Speaking at Larnaca airport upon departure for Athens, Christofias said he will brief the Greek political leadership on Cyprus efforts and will be informed on issues of Greek concern such as the on going dispute on the FYROM issue, noting that the Cyprus Government position is to support the decisions of the Greek Government.

    As regards the consultations which take place for a meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, President Christofias, noted that for him the nature of such a meeting is to explore the intentions of his interlocutor.

    I would like to ascertain the intentions of Mr. Talat, my intentions are the best, to start a dialogue on the basis of the Agreement of the 8th July, Christofias said, noting that he wishes to see which were the obstacles that prevented the implementation of the Agreement.

    Responding to questions on the opening of Ledra Street, Christofias expressed the hope that by the meeting all discussions on the issue will be resolved and the opening of the street will be announced.

    The Cypriot President further repeated his call for less public statements on either side in Cyprus, if serious work is to be done towards a negotiated settlement that would reunite the country, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

    Asked whether he discussed during a meeting this morning with Syrian Charge d Affaires to Cyprus, the issue of illegal immigrants coming to the Government controlled areas through the Turkish occupied north, Christofias said that on Friday Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister, will visit Cyprus to convey to him a message from President Bashar al-Assad for discussions on issues of common interest.

    He also described as a pleasant development an invitation extended to him by Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt to visit Sweden, conveyed this morning by Ambassador of Sweden to Cyprus Igmar Lindahl.

    The President returns home on Thursday.

    Former President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat agreed on 8 July 2006, during a meeting in Nicosia in the presence of then UN Undersecretary for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari, to begin a process of bicommunal discussions on issues that affect the day-to-day life of the people and concurrently those that concern substantive issues, both contributing to a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    Efforts to open a crossing point at one of Nicosias main commercial streets, Ledra street, have failed so far. The Turkish military insists that it shall not move from the area whereas the government of Cyprus maintains that safe passage, for civilians crossing to and from the Turkish occupied north, must be secured through the removal of the army, on both sides. The National Guard has already demolished its observation post in the vicinity.


    President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias has said that decisions regarding the economic and social policy of the state are taken by the government.

    Answering to questions, President Christofias said that Cyprus political leadership will listen carefully to the views expressed by the Governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus, Athanasios Orphanides.

    Christofias, who met, Tuesday, with Orphanides was asked whether the people of Cyprus should expect to be faced with a hard economic period.

    The Governor of the Central Bank, in the framework of European regulations, is an independent official and will express his opinion with boldness. The President and the political leadership will listen to it carefully. But decisions regarding the states economic policy and principally its social policy will be taken by the government, the President said.

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