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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 09-02-27

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] NATIONAL COUNCIL - SPOKESMAN
  • [02] FM CONFERENCE - GAZA
  • [03] MINISTER EU IMMIGRATION
  • [04] CY - PROFITS

  • [01] NATIONAL COUNCIL - SPOKESMAN

    President of the Republic Demetris Christofias briefed fully the National Council on Friday on the course of the direct talks he is engaged in with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, aiming at a solution of the Cyprus problem.

    According to a statement read out to reporters by Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou, during the session, President Christofias briefed in depth the members of the National Council on the course of the negotiations on the chapter of governance, and he submitted a document with his positions. He also informed them about the course of the negotiations on the chapter of properties, he added.

    Stephanou said the members of the National Council will give their positions on the document at the next Council meeting on March 10. The National Council is the top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus problem and comprises the leaders of parliamentary parties.

    Replying to a question, Stephanou stressed that the governments efforts aim at exerting pressure on the European Union to play a decisive role towards Turkey, in order for Ankara to meet the obligations deriving from its EU accession course and to cooperate for a just, viable and functional solution of the Cyprus problem.

    I would like to remind you that, after the first meeting President Christofias had with the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso last March, in which the role of the EU towards Turkey was discussed, Mr. Barroso went to Turkey and raised the issue before the Turkish Grand National Assembly, Stephanou pointed out.

    Asked about the need for a plan B on the Cyprus issue, Spokesman referred to President Christofias statements that at the current stage of the negotiations, the best plan is to proceed with the negotiations with positions that are fully in line with what has been discussed between the two communities, as regards the basis and the aim of the solution.

    Whether the position of the Turkish side is consistent with that basis or not, is a completely different issue. However, the solution we would like to find does not depend on the Turkish side position. It depends on our position and on the agreed basis, which has already been clarified, he concluded.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Christofias and Talat have been engaged in talks, under UN auspices, since last September with a view to fining a mutually agreed settlement that will reunite the country.

    [02] FM CONFERENCE - GAZA

    Cyprus Minister of Foreign Affairs Markos Kyprianou departs Monday, March 2 for Egypt to attend the International Conference to support the Palestinian economy for the reconstruction of Gaza.

    Kyprianou will announce, on behalf of the Republic of Cyprus, financial aid for the reconstruction of Gaza and for tackling humanitarian aspects of the issue. According to an official announcement issued here Friday, the Conference will be held in Sharm el-Sheikh. Norway and Egypt will co-chair Mondays international conference aimed at rebuilding the Gaza Strip.

    [03] MINISTER EU IMMIGRATION

    Cyprus and Malta will be the EU member states to be given priority regarding support in matters concerning asylum, Minister of the Interior Neoclis Sylikiotis has said.

    The Minister, who participated in the EU Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council in Brussels, said on his return to Cyprus Friday that Vice President of the European Commission Jacques Barrot gave assurances that Cyprus and Malta will be the first countries to be given the necessary support by the European Asylum Support Office, which is yet to be established.

    Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Malta undertook in January a joint initiative and submitted proposals regarding ways to combat illegal immigration. This is very important to us, because we are countries which feel most the strain of asylum applications. In Cyprus we have two groups. The first group are illegal immigrants who cross over from the northern Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus and come to the southern government controlled areas, abusing the asylum system and as a result we have thousands of applications pending. The other group are the refugees who have a real need for state support, as provided by international conventions, he explained.

    The Minister said he stressed at the JHA Council that Cyprus is the first stop of illegal immigrants in an area, which he described as ``the most politically unstable on the planet``.

    [04] CY - PROFITS

    Executive Chairman of Cyprus Airways Kikis Lazarides announced profits for the second year in a row, saying that this development comes after four years of consecutive losses, which amounted to 150 million euro and threatened the survival of the airline.

    Speaking at a press conference, Lazarides announced 1.7 million euro after tax profit for the year ending on the 31st of December 2008, compared to 1.2 million euro in 2007.

    He said these results were achieved despite the unprecedented increase in fuel prices, the effects of the financial crisis and the costs relating to the company`s overused fleet.

    ``During a period when dozens of airlines filed for bankruptcy and others were on the brink of collapse, recording huge losses that led them to downsize their fleet and carry out massive job cuts, our company managed to resist the pressures and even more increase profits``, Lazarides said.


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