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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-07-09

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Direct negotiations could start, depending on the progress achieved at the bicommunal working groups, which will be assessed by the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities, the government has said.

    The President of the Republic Demetris Christofias did not announce yesterday the beginning of any negotiations but in a straight forward manner he said that ultimately everything is subject to the review that will take place on July 25, with regard to the work done by the working groups, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou has said, commenting on the reaction to a press conference the President gave on Tuesday.

    Christofias is due to meet the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Mehmet Ali Talat on July 25, the fourth such meeting since Christofias was elected in February this year, to assess progress on the issues the working groups are discussing, including governance, the economy, territory and property.

    The Spokesman also pointed out that the working groups do not aim to solve the Cyprus question but to prepare the ground for direct negotiations, according to the procedure agreed by the two community leaders.

    The basis of negotiations has already been agreed. All factors will be taken into consideration on July 25, he noted, adding that the President will consult with party leaders prior to the July meeting.

    Replying to questions, he said the six working groups, set up after an agreement between Christofias and Talat earlier this year, will continue their work at a more intensified pace.


    Serbia`s Ambassador to Cyprus Mirco Jelic has expressed hope for a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem, which would respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus.

    Jelic met with Social Democrats Movement (KS EDEK) President Yiannakis Omirou, who expressed Cyprus` ``absolute support`` for the accession of Serbia to the European Union.

    The Serbian diplomat briefed Omirou on the formation of a government coalition in Serbia, after the May 11 general elections. ``Serbia has entered a new historic phase and there are high hopes for a long period of stability for the benefit of the Serbian people and the benefit of security, peace and stability in the region,`` Omirou said, adding that his party supports strongly and firmly Serbia`s EU accession prospects.


    Archbishop of the Church of Cyprus Chrysostomos II has described as unacceptable the demand of the Turkish occupation authorities to oblige pilgrims to the Apostolos Andreas (Saint Andrew) monastery in the occupied areas to pay an entrance fee in order to visit the site, noting that the Church would be protesting to the UN and Europe.

    Speaking at Larnaca Airport before departing for Athens, the Archbishop said that ``unfortunately things at the Apostolos Andreas monastery are becoming harder,`` adding that on Tuesday the Bishop of Karpasia visited the monastery in view of restoration works and was requested to pay an entrance fee of one euro. ``The Turks insisted that in order for him to enter the monastery he had to pay a fee,`` the Archbishop explained, noting that the excuse was to use the money for maintenance of the environment around the Apostolos Andreas monastery.

    Archbishop Chrysostomos II said ``this is an unacceptable situation, we deplore it,`` noting that on his return from Athens he would be complaining to the UN and Europe because ``they should not prevent the Christians from going on a pilgrimage, which the Turks should respect.``

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