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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-08-11

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    China expects Cyprus to act as a bridge between Beijing and Brussels, Cyprus President Demetris Christofias said on Monday, speaking after a meeting in Beijing with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao, an official statement said here.

    Hu expressed Chinas long standing support for Cyprus efforts to defend its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, the statement added.

    In his remarks after the meeting, Christofias said that Hu warmly welcomed the Cypriot delegation and reminded the Cypriot President of his visit to the country while he was President of the House of Representatives, a visit which contributed to further promoting the multi-faceted relations between the two countries, the statement noted.

    Christofias said Hu proposed that the two countries work together in all sectors to further promote and strengthen them.

    The two Presidents agreed that delegations from the two countries exchange visits and work to further develop economic, commercial and other relations.

    According to the Cypriot President, Hu said Cyprus is a very credible partner for China in the EU. The Chinese President also said that he looks forward to the Republic of Cyprus acting as a bridge between China and the EU, to help Beijing expand ties with Brussels, making the Union a credible partner for China, said Christofias.

    On the Cyprus issue, Christofias said President Hu expressed clear positions. Over the years, the Peoples Republic of China has supported the Republic of Cyprus in its effort and its struggle to defend its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Chinese president wished that talks to reunite Cyprus will bear fruit soon.

    President Hu, Christofias continued, has stressed that China, at all international organisations and especially the UN as a permanent member of the Security Council, will continue to maintain positions of principle and solidarity towards the Republic of Cyprus.

    Christofias thanked China for its longstanding positions on the Cyprus issue and its support in efforts to end the continuing Turkish occupation of the islands northern part and reunite the country to the benefit of all Cypriots.

    I have stressed our support for a single China and the reunification of Taiwan with China, a position which the Republic of Cyprus maintains with great consistency, Christofias said, adding I stressed that Tibet is an integral part of China. According to the official statement, Christofias expressed regret for various events which, as he pointed out, aim at marring Chinas credibility and the will of the Chinese people to organise the Olympic Games in an impressive manner. The opening ceremony of the Games was impressive and spectacular.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the islands northern third.

    The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat decided on July 25 to start full-fledged negotiations on September 3rd, with a view to find a mutually acceptable solution to the Cyprus problem.


    The Ministry of Defence is studying various options with a view to reduce the length of military service, which is compulsory for all male Greek Cypriots, citizens of the Republic of Cyprus, with some exceptions. The project for the restructuring of the National Guard and the modernisation of the Republics armed forces, including a reduction of the military service from 25 to 19 months, is now being studied by the Ministry, Cypriot Minister of Defence Costas Papacostas has said.

    Papacostas told CNA that the final evaluation of the project, submitted to him at the end of June, will be ready by the end of November and then it will be submitted to the Council of Ministers for discussion and final approval. «We are evaluating around 10-12 scenarios with different parameters and prerequisites. The Ministry will agree on two or three proposals which it will put before the Council of Ministers for discussion and approval, Papacostas noted.

    Papacostas said that if the military service is reduced to 19 months, the status of the Soldier of Short-term Service could be introduced. He also explained that in a 19 month basis military service, soldiers will be out of the National Guard by February. Taking this into account, Papacostas continued, young soldiers could be employed in the National Guard for six months, on contract, as volunteers, until September when most of them go to university. Finally, Papacostas stressed that the military service can only be reduced gradually, in three or four stages.


    The level of water at dams is very critical, according to the Water Development Board and in spite of various measures the government is taking to ease the situation, water cuts will continue. Water Development Department senior official Sofoklis Aletraris told CNA on Monday that the mobile desalination plant at Moni as well as the plant to treat water from the Garilis bores will operate in early November, while Larnaca desalination plant is due to be extended by late November to early December. However, he added, water cuts will not cease because it is not possible to meet existing needs.

    The situation at the dams in Cyprus is critical, said Aletraris, noting that water reserves stood at 5.4%. Dams have a total capacity of 274 million cubic metres, but at present there are less than 15 million cubic metres in the reservoirs. What is more critical is that the Kouris Dam, which provides water for Limassol, Nicosia and Larnaca, has only around one million cubic metres of water left while its capacity is 115 million, the Water Development Department official stressed.

    The water from Greece does not solve the water shortage, he stressed, adding that water cuts will continue to allow water at Kouris dam to be reserved for emergencies. Regarding the three projects which are expected to be completed this year, Aletraris said that coupled with some rainfall will significantly help the supply of water to the towns.However, people must understand that this is not the time to end the water cuts that are in place because we simply cannot meet our needs, he told CNA.

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