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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 09-03-13

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The government of the Republic of Cyprus has expressed satisfaction with the resolution, adopted by the European Parliament on Turkeys 2008 progress report.

    The resolution is balanced and positive, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said, adding that for the first time December 2009 becomes a clear timeframe for Turkey, and if by then Ankara does not meet its obligations as regards the Additional Protocol, this would seriously affect its EU accession course.

    He added that for the first time the four fundamental freedoms, which are part of the EU principles, become a condition for the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Stephanou noted that the European Parliament does not accept permanent derogations from the four fundamental freedoms and the acquis communautaire.

    The resolution clearly asks Turkey to facilitate the Cyprus negotiations by withdrawing its occupation forces and for the first time Ankara is called upon to let the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus negotiate freely on the future of their country, he said.

    The Spokesman described as very important the fact that Turkey is called upon to meet its obligations stemming from international law, UN decisions, rulings of the European Court of Human Rights and investigations into the fate of the missing persons. For the first time all EU member states are called upon to urge Turkey to take all necessary steps regarding this humanitarian issue.

    He expressed the view that the resolution reflects the positive climate which prevails in the EU due to the Greek Cypriot sides initiatives - which led to the commencement of direct negotiations between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus and to the hard efforts by the government, the diplomatic missions of Cyprus, the Cypriot MEPs and friendly groups at the European Parliament.

    This resolution, he continued, as well as other resolutions or decisions constitute a political tool which we can use for a just, viable and functional solution of the Cyprus problem, a solution that would ensure that the Republic of Cyprus will be an equal EU member state, as it is now.

    The leaders of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities President Demetris Christofias and Mehmet Ali Talat respectively began talks last September to find a negotiated settlement that will reunite the country, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.


    Presidential Commissioner George Iacovou has expressed hope that discussions in the coming months, in the context of UN-led negotiations for a political settlement in Cyprus, will yield results and provide an opportunity for an agreed settlement. Briefing Russian journalists, on the island for the second meeting of the Russian Press World Association, Iacovou said that as long as he is at this post, he will remain optimist.

    This does not mean that I underestimate the difficulties of the process, Iacovou stressed, noting that President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat have known each other for more than 25 years and have fought jointly for social justice. Despite the difficulties, we are determined to continue the discussion with the Talat, as we have done for almost a year now, he said.

    Iacovou stressed that Turkey plays an important role within the Turkish Cypriot community, and unfortunately, it affects negatively the direct negotiations. Referring to the Turkish occupation troops in Cyprus northern part, he said the 42,000 soldiers is a huge army for a community with a population of 85 thousands, clarifying that this is the actual population of the Turkish Cypriots in the occupied areas, and that the number of Turkish settlers reaches 160,000. This fact raises many questions and concerns about Turkeys intention, he pointed out.


    UN Secretary Generals Special Adviser for Cyprus, Alexander Downer, has expressed the view that there are good prospects for a successful negotiation at the Cyprus talks, which began early September with a view to reunify Cyprus, divided since the Turkish invasion of 1974.

    Downer, who was received Friday by President of Cyprus Demetris Christofias, said they had a nice conversation and went through many details on the progress of the Cyprus talks, adding we look forward to the continuation of the process. Asked about any natural deadlines as regards the Cyprus negotiations, Downer said that the important is to move the process forward as fast as is manageable and it needs to maintain momentum and I think it has a good momentum.

    I am cautiously optimistic about the process. I would not be here if I were not cautiously optimistic about it. I think there are good prospects of there being a successful negotiation here. But these are complicated issues, he said. He noted that the leaders of the two communities, President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, also have other obligations.


    Frenchman Sebastian Loeb holds a 41.8 second lead over Dani Sordo from Spain, at the end of the first leg of the 2009 Cyprus Rally. Loeb won five out of six special stages today.

    Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala from Finland hold third and fourth overall and Norwegian Petter Solberg rounds off the top five. Frenchman Sebastien Ogier, Russias Evgeny Novikov, Britains Matthew Wilson, Zimbabwes Conrad Rautenbach and Argentinean driver Federico Villagra complete the top 10.

    All the top seeded-drivers had been forced to tackle the days asphalt stages on control gravel tyres that will come into their own over the next two days when the event uses traditional loose surface stages in the Troodos mountains. Cyprus has been the first mixed surface WRC round since Sanremo in 1996. Portugals Armindo Araujo edged into an 11.5-second PWRC advantage after the opening special, with Swedens Patrik Sandell and Italys Simone Capedelli his nearest rivals. Qatars Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah held fourth. Regarding the Cypriot drivers, Charalampos Timotheou is in 20th place, 12,3 seconds ahead of Nicos Thomas, who is in 21st place.

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