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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-11-12

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    UN Secretary General`s Special Advisor on Cyprus, Alexander Downer, has expressed optimism about the outcome of the direct negotiations, currently underway between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus to find an agreed settlement that will reunite the country, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

    Speaking here after a meeting with President Demetris Christofias, Downer said he is optimist about the outcome of the process. However, he noted that inevitably this is going to be a difficult negotiation.

    ``If these problems were easy to solve, they would have been solved a long time ago. But, the political will has to be there above all to solve the problem in Cyprus, and I think the two leaders do have that political will and inevitably the details of the negotiations are going to be from time to time difficult``, he pointed out.

    The UN official also stressed that the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus have the capacity ultimately to deliver an agreement.

    Replying to a question on the duration of the process, Downer expressed satisfaction about the progress the two leaders have made so far, noting that he is not expecting them to agree on everything.

    ``But, the negotiations are moving forward and we will continue on that process tomorrow``, he added.

    Regarding the meeting with President Christofias, Downer said that he had the opportunity to listen to what Christofias had to say, and discuss some of the issues in relation to the negotiations that are taking place. ``It is very useful to have a discussion with him``, he said.

    President Christofias and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Mehmet Ali Talat have been engaged in peace talks since early September with a view to reach a mutually agreed settlement to reunite the country.


    The Republic of Cyprus and the Russian Federation have signed a Protocol on Economic Cooperation to further existing ties of friendship between the two countries and to enhance cooperation in the finance, trade, industry, tourism, transport, health and education sectors. The Protocol was signed by the Cyprus Minister of Finance Charilaos Stavrakis and the Russia Deputy Minister of Commerce and head of the Russian delegation, Stanislav Voskresenskiy, at the end of the 5th Summit of the Cyprus-Russia Intergovernmental Committee on Economic Cooperation.

    Speaking after the signing of the Protocol, Stavrakis expressed satisfaction with the spirit of cooperation and understanding shown during the talks, noting that the Protocol will contribute to further enhancing economic and other relations between the two countries. During the talks, the representatives of the two countries confirmed that there is room for improvement in existing as well as in new sectors, such as finance, banking, health services and energy.

    Additionally, at the meeting Cypriot and Russian officials noted the favorable conditions to help increase trade transactions and enhance cooperation in commerce, investment, tourism and transport.


    Cyprus` main commercial banks have announced a 0.5% reduction on all loans connected to the European Central Bank`s base rate.

    The decision by Bank of Cyprus, Marfin Laiki Banka and Hellenic Bank came a day before a scheduled meeting between Finance Minister Charilaos Stavrakis with the heads of the local commercial banks and follows increasing calls for a reduction of the banks lending margins with a view to ease pressure on businesses and households in the wake of the global financial crisis. In its press release, the Bank of Cyprus said it postpones the planned increase of its lending margins on housing loans connected to the ECB base rate until January 1 2009. ``The bank management in the meantime will monitor developments closely and will contribute accordingly with solutions aiming to support the economy,`` the BOC press release said.

    Marfin Laiki noted it postpones its planned revision of its lending margins on housing loans tied to ECB base rate until December 31 2008. ``Marfin Laiki, as an indispensable part of the Cypriot financial system, will follow closely developments and will contribute with suggestions to the competent authorities for the sake of the economy of our country,`` the press release adds.

    Hellenic Bank announced a 0.5% reduction to its base rate to all loans granted prior January 1 2008 and tied to the ECB base rate.

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