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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-11-04

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>


CONTENTS

  • [01] GOVERNMENT - EU - TURKEY
  • [02] SPOKESMAN - DIRECT TALKS
  • [03] FINANCE MINISTER - FORECASTS - SATISFACTION
  • [04] ÁTTORNEY GENERAL - "HELIOS" CRASH - PROSECUTIONS

  • [01] GOVERNMENT - EU - TURKEY

    The government of Cyprus is asking the EU to exert pressure on Turkey so that it understands that it has to contribute and help efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said on Tuesday, adding that President of the Republic Demetris Christofias is making every effort within the EU to inform member states on the Cyprus problem and is underlining the need for the EU to work towards Turkey to contribute to the settlement of the problem.

    Replying to questions on the role of the EU in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, Stephanou said European support concerns firstly expertise and secondly the general help for a settlement.

    ``It is well known that we are working and asking the EU to exert pressure on Turkey so that it understands that it has to contribute and help efforts to solve the Cyprus problem,`` Stephanou said, adding that President of the Republic Demetris Christofias is making every effort within the EU to inform member states on the Cyprus problem and developments and at the same time ``underlines the need for the EU to work towards Turkey to contribute to the settlement of the problem.``

    Replying to questions, Stephanou pointed out that Turkey must implement the Ankara Protocol and contribute towards a just and viable solution of the Cyprus problem.

    He added that the Republic of Cyprus was in favour of Turkey`s accession to the EU as long as Turkey fulfills its obligations.

    Asked if the government favours EU involvement in the process, Stephanou said the process is in the hands of the Cypriots.

    He noted that the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, ``through their work and with respect and the promotion of what the two communities have agreed on regarding the basis of the solution, and with respect to relevant UN resolutions, should pave the way for a solution of the Cyprus problem which will terminate the occupation and reunite Cyprus.``

    Stephanou also pointed out that the government would not accept arbitration, taking into consideration the developments in 2004.

    Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third

    [02] SPOKESMAN - DIRECT TALKS

    Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said on Tuesday that the rate of progress at the negotiating table for a Cyprus settlement had nothing to do with the regularity of meetings, noting that the decisive element was what each side said at the talks.

    Replying to questions, Stephanou explained that if the positions submitted at the talks between President of the Republic Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat are reasonable and focus on a bizonal bicommunal federation, then progress could be made.

    President Christofias and Talat will be meeting again on November 11, preceded by a meeting between the aides of the leaders of the two communities.

    Stephanou assured that the Greek Cypriot side was submitting ``very reasonable`` positions, which ``serve the aim of a bizonal, bicommunal federation.``

    He added that President Christofias would be visiting Moscow and Athens at the end of the month and that two meetings with Talat had been arranged in order to observe the agreement for a meeting a week.

    Stephanou pointed out that President Christofias was not only a negotiator but also President of an EU and UN member state, and had to meet his obligations.

    Replying to questions, Stephanou said the fact that the leaders of the two communities are still discussing governance, six meetings into the process, proves that ``the negotiations on the Cyprus problem will be difficult,`` adding that ``the solution of the Cyprus problem does not depend solely on the Greek Cypriot community`` but needs the cooperation of the Turkish Cypriot side.

    [03] FINANCE MINISTER - FORECASTS - SATISFACTION

    Minister of Finance Charilaos Stavrakis has expressed his full satisfaction over the latest revised projections of the European Commission for the Cypriot economy.

    Stavrakis told CNA after a Eurogroup and ECOFIN meeting in Brussels that predictions for 2009 continue to give the Cypriot economy high growth rates of 2.9%, which are identical to the Ministry`s predictions of 3%.

    He said the Commission also agrees with the Ministry`s calculations that there will be no increase in unemployment in Cyprus and that in 2009 inflation will drop below 3%.

    Regarding public finances for 2009, Stavrakis said Cyprus will be among the few EU countries that will possibly have a surplus.

    However, he pointed out that Cyprus should be cautious because the situation is still fluid and there were dangers that could affect the island`s open economy.

    ``We are closely monitoring financial developments and at this point in time we are drafting a contingency plan to support some sectors of the economy which might be affected,`` Stavrakis said, adding that the plan could be implemented very soon, if necessary.

    Referring to the European economy, Stavrakis said Commission projections were ``very worrying`` with projections showing a zero growth rate and a rise in unemployment.

    [04] ÁTTORNEY GENERAL - "HELIOS" CRASH - PROSECUTIONS

    Cyprus Attorney General Petros Clerides announced today that five persons will be prosecuted over the 2005 ``HELIOS`` plane crash, in August 2005 in Greece, which killed all 121 on board.

    ``We reached the conclusion that the evidence we studied justify a criminal prosecution against some persons whom we believe are responsible for the plane crash,`` Clerides said at a press conference.

    The Cyprus Law Office studied the air accident report issued by the Greek Air Accident Investigation and Aviation Safety Board, issued in November 2006, the report issued from the independent investigation Commission appointed by the Cyprus Council of Ministers, as well as the report issued after a police investigation.

    He added that the prosecution concerns one of the most serious crimes provided for in Cyprus` criminal code, adding that he instructed lawyers to draft the indictments which will take some time.

    Clerides refrained from revealing the names of the persons to be prosecuted and called for caution because prosecuting someone does not necessarily mean they will be condemned.

    ``The aim of the prosecution is to condemn those we believe bear the responsibility for the air crash. However until such condemnation is announced, these persons are entitled to be considered innocent,`` Clerides said.

    Meanwhile, Prodromos Prodromou, Secretary of the Committee of the Relatives of Victims said that the Attorney-General`s decision is a positive development, recalling that three years have elapsed since the crash.

    ``The indictments should be drafted as soon as possible and the court proceedings should be concluded as soon as possible so that the souls of the victims will rest,`` he concluded.

    On 14 August 2005, an Helios Airways Boeing 737, on its way to Prague via Athens, crashed into the mountain side north of the Greek capital, killing all 121 passengers and crew on board, most of them Cypriot holidaymakers.


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