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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 09-02-10

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Britain believes that real progress has been achieved in the ongoing peace effort in Cyprus, which must maintain its momentum to bring about a solution that will yield benefits not only to the island itself but also to the EU, to Turkey as well as the wider international community.

    Speaking to the press here Tuesday, British Minister for Europe Caroline Flint said she had useful talks with the leaders of the two communities, praised their commitment to the peace effort, and added that a reunited Cyprus would be in the interest of Cypriots of both communities and would bring security, stability and prosperity.

    Progress, she said, has inevitably not been easy, but real progress has been made, noting that moving from power sharing chapter in the talks to the property issue was an important step.

    She acknowledged that given the complexity, the duration and the sensitivities of the problem finding a solution would be difficult, adding that the progress made is a tribute to the two leaders.

    In her opening remarks to the press, she said that there is still a lot to be done, and pointed out that this opportunity is not infinite, and it is important that it is not allowed to drag on.

    Britain, she stressed, remains committed to supporting the UN efforts to achieve a settlement based on a bizonal bicommunal federation, with political equality.

    She said Britain has no place to interfere in the process because it has to be resolved by Cypriots and for Cypriots and said that one of the ways London is trying to be helpful is by supporting bicommunal activities such as the environmental forum.

    Questioned on the timetable of the talks, she welcomed the regularity of meetings and referred to confidence building measures that might be achieved, as well as a debate in civil society about the benefits of a solution, economic, social and environmental benefit.

    Asked if Britain could press on with Ankara the need to be helpful towards a solution, she said it is important that Turkey does demonstrate how it does support a settlement and expressed hope that in 2009 they can demonstrate that even more.

    On the EU demand on Turkey to open its ports and airport to Cypriot flagged ships and aircraft, she said Turkey has been asked to address a number of issues, friends of Turkey will press them to engage and I think they are engaging but at the same time we want to see progress between the two leaders and their talks.

    Replying to other questions, she said the process is not easy, this is not an easy situation but the leaders are showing leadership to take this on and try and find a solution, I hope in the coming months more progress can be made and countries supporting this process, including Turkey, will do whatever we can to make sure it is a success.

    The British Minister started her last day in Cyprus with a visit to one of the minefields being cleared by the Mine Action Centre, where she handed over a cheque for 50,000 euros, noting that ``this is important work vital to the normalisation of the situation on the island`` and that ``it is essential that it receives the funding to continue.``

    On her meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, Flint referred to the huge benefits for both sides, noting that a solution would allow Turkish Cypriots to take their rightful place as full EU citizens.

    Flint noted that ``at a time of global economic uncertainty, it will provide a major boost to the economy on both sides through increased trade, tourism and foreign investment.``

    She added that ``a solution will require flexibility, mutual understanding and political courage,`` and noted she was ``confident that these two leaders have the political courage and skill to achieve their aim.``

    ``This is the best opportunity there may ever be to solve the Cyprus problem. You cannot afford to miss it,`` she pointed out.

    At the conclusion of her visit, the Minister for Europe hosted an event to promote the work of the Cyprus Environmental Stakeholder Forum which brings together Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot environmental experts.

    Welcoming their efforts as an important civil society initiative, the Minister for Europe said ``protection of Cyprus precious but fragile environment is of vital importance. I`m encouraged that experts from the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities are working together on issues such as biodiversity and water conservation. I applaud their efforts and wish them every success.``

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.


    Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou has said that the Republic of Cyprus is carefully handling the issue regarding the Cypriot-flagged ship Monchegorsk, which is anchored near Limassol Port.

    Asked if it would be wise to send the ship to another EU member state, Stephanou said ``the wisest and most politically correct move was to continue to be as responsible as we have been so far and this is a stance which, I must say, has received positive comments from the international community.``

    He added that this shows that the Republic of Cyprus is maintaining a responsible stance, in the framework of international law and UN resolutions.

    It has been alleged that the Cypriot-flagged ship, which originated from Iran, was carrying arms and it was forced by a US military vessel to dock at Limassol Port to have its cargo inspected, in order to establish whether there has been a breach of UN Security Council sanctions, as claimed.


    President of the Chamber of Deputies of Chile, Francisco Encina Moriamez, will come to Cyprus for an official visit on 11 and 12 February, at the invitation of the Cyprus House President Marios Garoyian.

    According to an official announcement, during his stay in Cyprus, Encina will be received by the President of the Republic, Demetris Christofias, at the Presidential Palace and he will meet President of the House of Representatives Marios Garoyian at the House of Representatives.

    Encina will also hold separate meetings with the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Finance, Charilaos Stavrakis, the Chairman of the House Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Averof Neophytou, and the Mayor of the Turkish occupied city of Famagusta, Alexis Galanos.


    RAF Akrotiri has announced that an investigation will be carried out into the circumstances that led to Mondays air crash of a Harrier aircraft, to determine the cause of the crash.

    A press release, issued Tuesday by RAF Akrotiri, said that during a training flight yesterday, Monday 9th February, a Harrier aircraft from 20 Squadron crashed into the runway at RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus.

    Both aircrew ejected from the aircraft and have been discharged from hospital, following treatment. There were no other military or civilian personnel involved in the accident, it added. An air crash investigation team will be assembled and a full investigation conducted to determine the facts and further details will be released on completion of this investigation, it said.

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