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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-07-10

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon wishes to have separate meetings with the President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Chritofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, according to diplomatic sources in New York.

    A diplomat of a Security Council permanent member has told CNA that Ban will meet the two leaders in a symbolic gesture of support to the negotiations - aiming at a Cyprus settlement a few days before Christofias and Talat meet again in Nicosia, Cyprus, to decide whether direct negotiations can commence.

    UN sources have confirmed the Ban Christofias meeting in Paris and the Talat-Ban meeting confirmation was expected. When both meetings are set, the UN might issue an official announcement, the same sources said.

    A UN official pointed out that such meetings would give the opportunity to the Secretary General to listen to the views of both sides on the Cyprus issue. Ban would also encourage the two leaders to move forward, the UN official added.

    Furthermore, it is expected that the appointment of Alexander Downer, former Australian Foreign Minister, as a UN Secretary Generals Special Representative, will be finalised.

    President Demetris Christofias will participate in the Paris summit for the Union of the Mediterranean, which the French European Union presidency is hosting.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Technical committees and working groups, set up after the March 21st Agreement between the two leaders, are meeting in order to prepare the ground for fully - fledged negotiations.

    President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat met on May 23 and July 1 and reviewed the work achieved at the bicommunal committees and teams. The two leaders will meet again on July 25.


    The government aims to combat tax evasion by companies and self-employed taxpayers and subsequently increase its revenues by applying a new action plan Minister of Finance Charilaos Stavrakis has said in statements to CNA. The Inland Revenue Department has recently applied the plan, thus setting the government on the right track regarding the increase of its revenues and the elimination of tax evasion.

    Stavrakis expressed contentment over the fact the plan has been applied, stressing that we are on the right track. He also said that he would monitor the results of the plan every fifteen days. We are entering a period of slowdown of the economy that affects negatively the VAT income, inland revenues and real estate taxes, the Minister said and added that it is necessary to make every effort to cover the gap created by the decrease in state revenues. Stavrakis pointed out though that the growth rate in 2008 is estimated to reach 3.6%-3.7%.

    Taxes due to the Inland Revenue Department by companies amount to 500 million euro, Stavrakis said, adding that part of it might be impossible to collect since a number of companies might have gone bankrupt or terminated operation. Still there is a large amount of money to be collected, he said.


    Cyprus dependence rate on imported energy in 2006 rose to 102,5% and it was the highest rate recorded in the European Union, the EU Statistical Office (Eurostat) has said. The difference of 2.5 units exceeding 100% is due to the fact that imports have exceeded domestic consumption in that year.

    According to figures published today by Eurostat, after Cyprus the highest energy dependence rates were found in Malta (100%), Luxembourg (99%) and Ireland (91%) while in Greece the dependence rate reached 71,9% of the internal consumption and 53,8% of the EU total. Total energy consumption in Cyprus reached 2.6 million tonnes of oil equivalent (toe) in 2006, marking an increase of 5.8% compared with 2005.

    In 2006, energy imports in Cyprus reached at 3 million tonnes of oil equivalent, recording an increase of 5,5% and in Greece at 24,9 million tones (a 6% increase in comparison with 2005). In 2006, Eurostat said, Cyprus had no energy production.


    A solution in the Cyprus problem cannot be achieved without Turkeys positive stance, the Cypriot Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou has stressed after a meeting in Salonica with the citys Prefect Panayiotis Psomiades. In response to a question whether steps are being made to improve Nicosia-Ankara relations, 34 years after Turkish invasion of Cyprus, Kyrpianou replied: not to the extent these should have been made and one would have expected.

    He remarked that the Turkish occupation of Cyprus northern part continues and the country is still divided, adding that Turkey has not yet fulfilled its EU obligations towards Cyprus. We have shown our good will permitting Turkeys accession course to the EU to open and move forward, he pointed out.

    The Greek Cypriot side, he added, awaits to see some positive movements on behalf of Turkey as well as a more positive stance towards the ongoing effort to find a solution. Kyprianou noted that the solution will be achieved together with the Turkish Cypriots, noting in parallel that a solution cannot be found without Turkeys positive stance. Ankara, he said, is an important player in this problem.

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