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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 09-03-06

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias assured on Friday that he would continue to strive towards achieving a just, viable and functional settlement of the Cyprus problem, noting that the key to a solution was in Turkey, which should change its intransigent policy, and that efforts within the EU and the international community were bearing fruit.

    He also said he was determined to press on with direct negotiations with the Turkish Cypriot side for a comprehensive settlement, that would serve the interests of the people as a whole, and pointed out that in order for the efforts to be successful, unity and consent on the internal front were of great importance.

    In his opening remarks during a press conference to mark the first year of his term in office and referring to the Cyprus problem, President Christofias said ``the government`s programme is the guiding light and compass of our governance`` and is a point of reference, which ``commits us to work for a just solution to the Cyprus problem and for a fairer society.``

    Quoting the government`s programme, President Christofias said it determines that ``it is a pressing need for the Greek Cypriot side to undertake the initiative of moves`` and that ``a flexible and sincere policy will allow for either the current deadlocks to be overcome or, if Turkey does not alter it stance, to bring to the forefront its responsibilities for the intransigent policy it is following.``

    ``Our aim is the solution of the Cyprus problem but we have said many times that the key to the solution is in Turkey,`` he said, adding that ``there will be a solution to the Cyprus problem if Turkey shows understanding and changes its policy, alters its stance.``

    President Christofias said that since his election last year, ``we undertook initiatives to achieve the aim of a just, viable and functional solution to the Cyprus problem, which will terminate the occupation and settling and reunite the country, the people, the economy and the institutions, in the framework of a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality, as described in the relevant UN resolutions, a single federal state with a single sovereignty, a single citizenship and a single international identity, safeguarding the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the whole of the people, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians and Latins.``

    ``Our policy on the Cyprus problem aims at the activation and collaboration of all factors at home and internationally, who play or could play a role in the comprehensive settlement of the problem,`` he added.

    Referring to results so far, President Christofias said the deadlocks were lifted and mobility was created, and the two communities entered direct talks for a settlement. He added that the basis of a solution was reaffirmed, namely a bizonal bicommunal federation, and that the interest of the international community in the Cyprus problem was rekindled and the international community credits the Greek Cypriot side with sincerity and good will for a solution.

    ``It is becoming accepted that the ownership of the negotiating process is Cypriot. It does not provide for tight deadlines or arbitration,`` he said, adding that ``our continuous efforts and contacts for the assumption of a specific role on behalf of the EU are bearing fruit.``

    He said that the setting up of a group to monitor the Cyprus problem under the President of the European Commission is ``the result of these efforts,`` adding that ``it is now a position of the EU that Turkey in its accession course should meet its obligations towards the Union and the Republic of Cyprus and should also cooperate for a solution that will serve the interests of the Cypriots.``

    President Christofias also noted that ``we have strengthened our relations with the President of the European Parliament and all its groups.``

    ``The Republic of Cyprus has come out of the corner, in which certain circles unjustly placed it after the referenda of 2004. The initiative is now in the hands of the Republic of Cyprus,`` he noted.

    He also said that the Republic of Cyprus is developing a multilateral foreign policy, adding that ``as an active member of the EU, we are strengthening our relations with third countries, on the basis of international law and mutual benefit, so that the Republic of Cyprus can function as a bridge of cooperation between the EU and third countries.``

    ``Significant moments that can be mentioned in forming the international relations of the Republic of Cyprus are the visits to Great Britain and the Russian Federation, and the signing of the Protocol of Understanding and the Common Declaration respectively with these countries,`` he said, noting that a total of twenty-two visits abroad ``have borne fruit for our country.``

    President Christofias mentioned his trip to China, his address before the UN General Assembly and the meetings on the sidelines of the Assembly with Presidents and Prime Ministers of fifteen countries.

    He also pointed out his participation in various EU forums and summits organised by the EU with countries of Latin America and Asia, as well as his address before the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the many meetings he held with the leadership of the Assembly and the President and members of the European Court of Human Rights.

    ``I would like to note with satisfaction that the relations with the Greek government and the political leadership of the country in its whole have been strengthened even further and are excellent,`` President Christofias added.

    He noted that ``our active participation in European affairs and our contribution to forming policies and programmes, assign prestige to our country,`` adding that ``this prestige, along with responsible and well documented assertion, as well as the friendly ties we have developed with European leaders, such as President of the European Commission Mr. Barroso, French President Mr. Sarkozy, President of the European Parliament Mr. Poettering, have produced positive outcomes for our country.``


    President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias has described his first year in term as ``successful`` and has assured that ``the government, with determination, effectiveness and stability is implementing its programme for a fairer society.``

    He noted that this course demanded ``cooperation with the legislative authority, the parties, the local administration, the organised groups, the civil society,`` adding that ``with the strength we are obtaining from the people, we are taking our country and our society forward.``

    In his opening remarks during a press conference to mark the first year of his term in office and referring to internal administration, President Christofias said ``the government`s programme is the guiding light and compass of our governance`` and is ``a stable point of reference,`` which ``commits us to work for a just solution to the Cyprus problem and for a fairer society.``

    He pointed out that the Council of Ministers is working collectively and is guided by the government`s five-year programme, adding that the first year of administration has been ``successful.``

    ``The implementation of the ambitious aim of creating a fairer society is based on a necessary precondition, the existence of a strong and robust economy, which can serve the reasonable needs of the citizens,`` he said, adding that ``within the priorities of the government are the vulnerable groups of the population, which have an immediate need for support from the state.``

    President Christofias said ``the first year of our administration was accompanied by a series of objective, external problems and unfortunate incidents of an unprecedented extent and intensity,`` adding that the greatest problem before the country was the global financial crisis.

    He pointed out that the Cypriot economy would be affected to a lesser degree compared to other EU member states, noting that the government has taken effective measures to tackle any possible consequences.

    ``It is enough to mention that the two packages we announced and are implementing for this purpose are worth about 470 million euros,`` he said, adding that ``we will be drawing 300 million euros from the European Central Bank mainly for loans to small and medium sized enterprises.``

    President Christofias said this package of measures aims at strengthening the construction sector, and also provides for speeding up the completion of large and small development projects, while at the same time efforts are being made to reduce red tape.

    ``Much has been done in this context, with efforts today reaching their peak. The programmes are being implemented and already for the construction sector, projects exceeding 640 million euros are being promoted in all districts,`` he said.


    Cyprus is participating as a guest of honour in the 11th International Exhibition "Education 2009", which begins on Friday and ends on Sunday, at HELEXPO Palace in Marousi, Greece.

    Greek Minister of Education and Religion Aris Spiliotopoulos and Cypriot Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Antonis Paschalides will be opening the exhibition, which is the top event in the education sector in Greece and one of the most important education exhibitions in Europe.

    Cyprus` participation in the exhibition comprises eight higher education institutes and the Ministry of Commerce.

    In 2008, the exhibition gathered 250 exhibitors from Greece and 15 other countries, and was visited by about 20,000 people of all ages.

    The exhibition is addressed to all those seeking to learn, covering students, staff and members of businesses, freelance professionals, employees in the education field, career planning consultants, and families seeking the right education for their children.

    It constitutes one of the richest sources of reliable information about education in Greece and abroad.

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