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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-07-08
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 PRESIDENT CHRISTOFIAS - PRESS CONFERENCE - CYPRUS ISSUEPresident of the Republic Demetris Christofias assured on Tuesday that the Greek Cypriot side is doing everything possible to create the conditions necessary to reach a settlement of the Cyprus problem, through a policy that will activate all factors involved in the problem in the right direction for the creation of a dynamic towards a just, under the circumstances, viable and functional solution.
In his opening remarks at a press conference for the first 120 days of his government, President Christofias said that ``when we took over the presidency of the Republic, we declared that the main aim of our government was to achieve a solution to the Cyprus problem the soonest possible, a solution that will end the occupation and reunite the territory, the people, the institutions and the economy of the state,`` noting that ``this can be achieved in the context of a bizonal bicommunal federation, as provided for by the high level agreements of 1977 and 1979.``
``Through this policy we tried to activate all factors which play or could play a role in the Cyprus problem in the right direction to create a dynamic towards a just, under the circumstances, viable and functional solution,`` he said.
He added that ``the united federation bicommunal, bizonal Republic of Cyprus will be a state with a single sovereignty, a single citizenship and a single international personality, in the context of which there will be political equality of the two communities, as set out in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.``
``The solution will restore and safeguard the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the whole of the people of Cyprus and will be based on UN resolutions and the principles of international and European law,`` the President added.
President Christofias pointed out that the Greek Cypriot side has undertaken the initiative for moves in order to break the deadlock, with a policy that is based on principles, adding that there were two directions in which this policy would be pursued, first in the direction of the Turkish Cypriots and second in the direction of the international community.
``Firstly in the direction of the Turkish Cypriot community, so that together Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will work for a solution of the Cyprus problem. Secondly in the direction of the international community to change the negative climate against us and revive its interest in a solution and the reunification of Cyprus,`` the President said.
Referring to his meetings with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, President Christofias said they agreed to set up the working groups and technical committees and open the Ledra Street crossing point, as well as implement other confidence building measures, adding that on July 25, when they meet again, they will review progress and decide if they will begin direct talks to solve the Cyprus problem.
He pointed out that they met on March 21, May 23 and July 1 and that during these meetings they clarified that ``the negotiating basis is a bizonal, bicommunal federation with a single sovereignty, a single citizenship and a single international personality, in the framework of which there will be political equality, as set out by relevant UN Security Council resolutions.``
``The clarification of the negotiating basis is an important step forward,`` he said, adding that it was achieved with ``hard work and continuous efforts, with a focus on the principles of the solution, and with flexibility.``
President Christofias noted that ``it is very important to say that for the first time in a statement of the leaders of the two communities reference is made to a single sovereignty, a single citizenship and a single personality.``
He noted that on July 25, when the leaders review the results of the work produced at the working groups and technical committees, ``we will decide if we will proceed with direct talks.``
``At this point I want to stress that whatever has been achieved since March 21 is the result of mutual understanding between the two leaders. I say this without ignoring the different approaches that exist and the difficulties we are facing,`` he said.
He also said that since his election, there has been a change for the better regarding the stance of the international community towards the Greek Cypriot side, adding that the international climate is now favourable, ``a fact that makes our political word trustworthy and this gives us the ability to take initiatives.``
``We are addressing the UN, seeking the collective action of the five permanent members of the Security Council, on the basis of resolutions on Cyprus. This approach has already brought about a positive resolution and a positive presidential statement on behalf of the Security Council on Cyprus and the Cyprus problem,`` he pointed out.
Regarding the European Union and the Council of Europe, President Christofias said that the government has asked the EU to use its influence towards Turkey so that it meets its obligations towards the Union and the Republic of Cyprus. ``We also asked that Turkey cooperates towards a settlement to the Cyprus problem that will be in the interests of the Cypriots above all,`` he added.
Referring to the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Republic of Cyprus and the United Kingdom, he said ``it has restored our relationship and has set sound foundations for the development and deepening of our relations.``
President Christofias said the first 120 days regarding the Cyprus problem were positive, noting however that this did not mean efforts would become complacent, since reaching a settlement continues to be hard and complicated, especially taking into consideration the political situation in Turkey.
He added that ``the obstacles we have to overcome are many and complex until we reach the much-wanted day of the solution.``
``We would like to note that from the beginning we had stressed that we do not have a magic wand that will magically solve the Cyprus problem. We had underlined the difficulties, as well as the fact that not everything depends on us. The positive fact that the UN and in general all interested parties accept that the solution will be found by the Cypriots for the Cypriots does not absolve Turkey of its responsibilities,`` he stressed.
President Christofias added that ``the key to the solution is in the hands of Turkey and it depends greatly on its own will to reach a settlement,`` and assured that the Greek Cypriot side was doing everything possible to create the conditions necessary to reach a settlement, and pointed out the need for unity.
``That is what we have been doing since the first day we took over the presidency and we believe the results so far justify our policy,`` he pointed out.
On the National Council, top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus problem, President Christofias said he has asked the members to submit views on how to upgrade it, with an aim to strengthen the body and its collectiveness to the benefit of the home front and in order to provide collective support to the President of the Republic.
 US - CYPRUS PEACE EFFORTThe purpose of a visit to Cyprus by a US high ranking official was to demonstrate Washingtons support for the efforts of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders to rejuvenate efforts, under UN auspices, to foster a comprehensive settlement that reunifies Cyprus into a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, according to a State Department statement. The statement, issued about a trip to Cyprus by Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Daniel Fried, notes that the United States urges the two leaders to show the way forward, and looks forward to supporting their efforts.
During his visit, Fried met on Monday the two leaders and UN Secretary Generals Special Representative in Cyprus. He also paid a call on Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou and met a number of senior leaders, negotiators and political figures from both communities. As Assistant Secretary Fried stressed publicly in Nicosia, the time has never been more favorable for a settlement. The United States urges the two leaders to show the way forward, and looks forward to supporting their efforts, the statements says.
Frieds visit came as Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat are preparing to meet again later this month to make a final assessment of the work achieved so far by bicommunal teams of experts, which have been meeting in the past three months to prepare the ground for substantive negotiations. The objective is to begin direct talks between Christofias and Talat to find a political settlement that will reunite Cyprus, which has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.
 EU - IMMIGRATION POLICYEuropean Union member states have unanimously reached a political agreement, in Cannes, on a European pact on immigration and asylum rights, which will be submitted for signing in October by the EU leaders during the French presidency. Cypriot Minister of the Interior Neoclis Sylikiotis, addressing the EU informal Council of Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs, congratulated the French presidency on its initiative, especially the reference to the principle of solidarity and the need to support member states which have to deal with increasing pressure from illegal immigration.
Sylikiotis said that this reference had special significance for Cyprus, since the island is in the category of member states facing immigration problems due to its geographical position and the illegal occupation of its northern third by Turkish troops since the 1974 invasion, which prevents the Cypriot government from controlling the whole territory of the Republic of Cyprus.
On the asylum policy, Sylikiotis said Cyprus was receiving a large number of applications and expressed support to promoting practical cooperation in this field. He said Cyprus was committed to the aim of creating a just and effective European asylum system, which would on the one hand respect the rights of the refugees and those needing international protection, and on the other hand would not promote fraudulent applications.
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