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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-03-05

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The excellent relations and close cooperation between Athens and Nicosia have been reconfirmed during a meeting in Athens between the newly elected Cypriot President Demetris Christofias and the Greek Premier Kostas Karamanlis.

    The two leaders agreed on more regular contact and consultations in view of anticipated developments in the Cyprus issue this year and on the need to implement a UN-brokered agreement in July 2006, between the leaders of the two communities. Christofias and Karamanlis called on Turkey to abandon its intransigence and meet its EU obligations.

    They also said that a UN-proposed solution plan (the Annan plan) is null and void and stressed that a solution of the Cyprus issue should be based on UN resolutions and EU principles and underlined that the Turkish occupation forces must withdraw from Cyprus northern occupied areas.

    Christofias expressed hope that the interest shown by the international community will be translated into influence on Turkey so as Ankara will revise its intransigent views and positions as regards a Cyprus settlement.

    Todays meeting as a President with the Greek Premier was as usual very warm, Christofias said, adding that the governments of the two countries will continue to work hard so as the very close relations will become even closer.

    He said he briefed Premier Karamanlis on the latest developments in the Cyprus problem and the meeting he is expected to have soon with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, reiterating the Greek Cypriot sides position that talks should aim at implementing the 2006 July agreement, the only signed agreement at this moment between the leaders of the two communities.

    He said he plans to honor the signature of his predecessor Tassos Papadopoulos and expressed hope that the Turkish Cypriot leader will also honor his signature, noting that the meeting with Talat will aim to explore the intentions of the other side.

    Our hope is that during the meeting we will be able to announce the opening of the Ledra street crossing point in Nicosia with a view to open the Limnitis checkpoint, on the northwest, Christofias said.

    Referring to the Cyprus issue, the Cypriot President referred to Turkeys decisive role as regards the prospect of a solution, adding: It is an occupation force and at the end of the day an agreement must come from the Cypriots, provide for the withdrawal of the Turkish occupations troops, the termination of illegal settlement by Turkish settlers, the recognition of the rights of the refugees to return to their property and of course we must agree on a bizonal bicommunal federation, that will unite the people, the institutions and the economy.

    He further said that Greece and Cyprus should coordinate their efforts to ensure that Turkey meets its obligations towards the EU and the Cyprus Republic.

    Karamanlis congratulated Christofias on his recent election to the presidency and reiterated the close cooperation and coordination between the two governments.

    We hope that during 2008 there will be a window of opportunity to achieve decisive progress towards a Cyprus settlement, Karamanlis said, adding that the framework is for this solution is UN Security Council decisions and the values and principles of the EU, of which Cyprus is a member state, Karamanlis said.

    He called on Turkey, a country aspiring to become an EU member state, to respond positively, showing a sincere will for cooperation and implement the additional Protocol of the Ankara Agreement, which provides for the opening of its ports and airports to Cyprus.

    We expect Turkeys full compliance with the aquis communautaire and we also expect that it will meet all its obligations towards the EU, so as to have a positive outcome in the countrys European course, Karamanlis said.

    Responding to questions he said that Athens fully supports the need for the implementation as soon as possible of the July agreement, which will prepare the ground for comprehensive negotiations without strict deadlines or other preconditions.

    Asked if a revised Annan Plan could be the base for a Cyprus negotiations, he said that the Annan Plan was rejected in the April 2004 referendum and has therefore become null and void.

    Apart from that, part of the essence of the Annan Plan was a process of strict deadlines for negotiation, arbitration, which was proven unproductive as to the achievement of a mutually acceptable solution, Karamanlis concluded.

    Christofias is also meeting this evening political party leaders.

    He returns home Thursday.


    The government of Cyprus will launch a campaign to attract foreign investment to the country. Minister of Finance Charilaos Stavrakis has said that in the next two weeks the government, in cooperation with the private sector, will launch a campaign to inform foreign investors about the comparative advantages Cyprus can offer in the financial and services sectors. To help achieve this goal, a meeting has taken place at the Ministry of Finance with the participation of the leaderships of organised auditors, lawyers and the head of the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency.

    Stavrakis expressed great optimism that with good planning, and with the cooperation of the private sector, Cyprus can become the Singapore of the Middle East, a financial and services centre of international standards, able to attract foreign exchange and create new employment opportunities in Cyprus. Efforts to attract foreign investment will concentrate on most European countries, former eastern European countries, Russia, the Ukraine and India, he added.

    The government, in cooperation with the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry as well as auditors and lawyers, plans a series of visits to the aforementioned countries to promote Cyprus role as a financial and services hub. This effort will commence immediately, most probably in the next two weeks, the Minister added. Stavrakis emphasised that the government will not increase corporate tax, saying that Cyprus will continue being a country of low tax rates as an incentive to attract foreign investors. Asked whether he can commit himself that during his term in office tax benefits of foreign companies operating in Cyprus will remain the same, he refrained from giving such a commitment, but noted that there is a general understanding that tax would not increase. I believe that the right tax measures will be taken to attract foreign investment, he concluded.

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