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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 09-03-18

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Cypriot Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry signed a project entitled ``Interdepedence,`` in a bid to boost business relations between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.

    The signing ceremony took place in the presence of Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, who both underlined the importance of joint economic activity as a contribution to the solution process, which started on September 3 2008. They also reiterated their commitment to a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    ``The businesspeople is our natural ally in our efforts to construct the unified Cypriot economy where everybody will enjoy the same rights in work, salary, pension and social security,`` Christofias said, addressing the ceremony, adding that the ``businesspeople understand better than everybody else that there can be unnatural, artificial limitations to movement and to personal opportunities.``

    President Christofias also referred to the ongoing negotiations for a Cyprus solution, underlining that his proposal for the Cyprus issue is a federal Cypriot state, close to its citizen, a state with social role, a state from all Cypriots for all Cypriots.

    He then highlighted the agreed basis of a settlement, which envisages a common bi-communal bi-zonal federal state with a single international personality, a single sovereignty and nationality, as well as political equality, as defined in UN relevant resolutions.

    He added however that he observes ``a difference of approach by the two sides,`` adding that ``hopefully with good will we will find the necessary compromises.``

    ``Without having the magical prescription,`` he added, ``I believe that with dialogue and good will we can build week by week, for the common benefit, by submitting positions based on rationality and justice.``

    President Christofias expressed his conviction that the efforts for a reunited and prosperous federal Cyprus will bear fruit.

    Christofias noted that the Cyprus government supports Turkey`s prospects to become full member of the EU, because this will benefit the country and its people. He also noted that there would be benefits from a lasting peaceful cooperation in all fields among Cyprus, Turkey and Greece.

    Christofias stressed however that Turkey`s accession cannot take place ``a la carte`` and that Turkey has obligations towards the EU and bilateral obligations towards the Republic of Cyprus, which it must fulfill.

    On his part, Talat said that ``the success of the business community will strengthen our success and will prevail over the weak points that might be included in the settlement.``

    Addressing the businesspeople, Talat said that ``you should be aware that the real solution of the Cyprus problem can be reached through your economic success and you should consider the significance of your cooperation with this in mind.``

    He said that he does not wish to mislead by portraying a completely optimistic picture of the talks. ``There are also difficulties in the process,`` he added.

    Stating that there is convergence of views but also disagreements on the issue of Governance and Power Sharing, Talat described the property issue as ``the most difficult one.``

    ``Every day without a settlement is a loss. The more we delay the settlement, the more difficult it becomes. We should make good use of the current historical coincidences and harmony. We have to work hard aware of the fact that time is not on the side of a settlement and we should reach an agreement as soon as possible. We have to succeed in this, as it may be too late tomorrow,`` he concluded.

    The project, funded by UNDP-ACT, envisages to contribute to unification through an increase in intra-island trade and business cooperation and the enhancement of economic interdpendence, encouraging cooperative planning to benefit the economy island-wide, creating more opportunities for partnerships and helping the business communities in each communities to identify and understand new and existing interdependent economic relationships. It also foresees the implementation of confidence-building measures while conducting in-depth research on the current state of economic interdependence on the island for its further reinforcement in all areas taking also into consideration the opportunities that will be presented for the solution of the problem.

    A joint statement issued by the two Chambers notes that ``economic convergence and sustainable economic development are essential ingredients of a lasting solution and increased competitiveness of the island as whole``.

    ``Therefore, we invite and encourage the businesspeople of the two communities to establish and improve business links between them. The benefits of doing business together can prove a win-win situation for both communities,`` the statement adds.

    CCCI President Manthos Mavrommatis said that ``the Cypriot businesspeople are committed to continue our cooperation since wholeheartedly believe that we contribute in this way to strengthening our business and more generally economic relations at the same invest in our common future.``

    ``We know however too well that only a solution to our political problem will allow our relations and cooperation to grow to the full extent to the benefit not only of the business community but Cyprus as a whole``, he added.

    Sua Saracoglu said the T/c Chamber of Commerce is an ardent supporter of finding a fair and lasting comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem.

    ``A Cyprus settlement is crucial not only for the future generations of tomorrow but also for us today,`` he concluded.

    Cyprus, an EU member state in May 2004, has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. So far, Christofias and Talat have had 23 meetings covering the issues of Governance and Power Sharing, property while now they are discussing EU matters.

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