|Sunday, 23 September 2018|
Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 09-08-31
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 CYPRUS SYRIA PRESIDENTS - MEETINGCyprus President Demetris Christofias and his Syrian counterpart Bashar al Assad announced Monday that their countries will engage in dialogue to resolve the issue which arose after the commencement of illegal sea routes between the Syrian port of Latakia and the port of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, which the government of Cyprus has declared as closed following the Turkish invasion of 1974.
President Christofias and President Assad made the announcement in statements after official talks they held in Damascus, where the Cypriot President is paying a two-day state visit.
``We authorized competent officials of both sides to deal further with the issue for the benefit of both countries and our friendly relations,`` President Christofias said replying to a question, adding the issue was discussed in the context of a ``friendly exchange of views and understanding``.
On his part, President Al Assad said he agreed with the Cypriot President`s remarks, adding ``the issue is not a complicated one and will be resolved soon.``
``This year and after the (presidential) elections, Cyprus has made some steps towards Syria which I considered positive and have been noted,`` the Syrian President said, adding ``there are some technical issues which can be resolved and I think it is easy to be resolved.``
``We decided to begin a dialogue between competent officials from the two countries to solve this issue on a technical and not on a political level,`` Al Assad said.
In their opening statements, both Presidents praised the level of the bilateral relations between the two countries, expressing their wish for further strengthening of these relations in all fields. The two countries will sign tomorrow nine agreements for cooperation between Syria and Cyprus in the fields of culture, technology and communications, sports, protection of the environment, aviation, tourism and cooperation between the Central Banks of the two countries.
``These agreements prove both my personal interest and that of my government and our will for strengthening our traditionally friendly ties in all fields,`` President Christofias said.
During the talks President Christofias briefed his Syrian counterpart on the course of the UN-led talks that began in September 2008 in a bid to bring about a mutually accepted settlement to the problem of Cyprus, divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
``I stressed that we work for a united country with one international personality, a single sovereignty and one nationality, where human rights will be respected and all its legitimate citizens will live in prosperity``, President Christofias, said.
The Cypriot President pointed out that talks so far have not yielded the expected progress due to the ``insistence of the Turkish side to submit positions that are against the international law, the values and the federal practices,`` adding ``we want to hope that with the exhortation of the international community and especially of friendly countries, Turkey will stop working on a confederal solution.``
``We hope,`` the President went on to say, ``that with the assistance and support of friendly countries Turkey will show the necessary political will and will assist (the efforts) for a settlement to the Cyprus problem``.
He pointed out that the benefits from a Cypriot settlement will be significant not only for Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots but for Turkey itself while a Cyprus solution would contribute to the achievement of peace and stability in the wider region.
The Cypriot President also referred to Turkey`s European course noting that Ankara ``must fulfill its obligations towards the EU and Cyprus if it wants to proceed smoothly with its accession course.``
In his statements, President Al Assad referred to the Cyprus problem, noting that the dialogue is the only way to resolve the Cyprus problem and that ``there is no other way from that``.
``We believe that support to the efforts made for a solution to the Cyprus problem satisfy both sides,`` he said.
Assad also said that he agreed with his Cypriot counterpart that the solution of the Cyprus problem should be achieved ``through the UN resolutions and the international legality.``
Furthermore, President Christofias praised Syria`s positions of principle over the settlement of the problems of the Middle East, expressing support to the Arab peace initiative for the settlement of the Palestinian problem.
``Cyprus supports the comprehensive settlement of these problems and considers the Arab peace initiative as the backbone for peace in the region,`` he said, noting ``there must be respect to the UN Security Council relevant resolutions if a permanent peace will be achieved in the Middle East and surely peace in the Middle East cannot be conceivable without the return of the Golan Heights``.
President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat began UN-led talks early September 2008 with a view to reach a solution of the Cyprus problem. They have concluded the first phase of the talks, that is, the first reading of the aspects of the Cyprus problem, namely governance and power-sharing, territory, property, economic matters, EU matters and security. September 3rd, they will enter the second phase of the talks.
 MINISTER - CYPRUS TALKS - MISSINGLabour and Social Insurance Minister Sotiroula Charalambous believes that in the second round of UN-led peace talks, scheduled to begin Thursday, there are positive elements from the first phase of the negotiations as a result of the right procedures which President Demetris Christofias has followed.
We have to be realistic and impartial, Charalambous said during the funeral service at the Panagia Evangelistria Church at Dhali of Christoforos Skordis, who was murdered during the 1974 Turkish invasion and his remains were identified through the DNA method, noting that during the direct talks there was convergence between the two sides.
In her eulogy of Skordis, Charalambous praised the soldier whose remains were found in a mass grave in 2006, in the Turkish occupied village of Tziaos, defending his country.
According to the Committee of Relatives of Missing Persons and Undeclared Prisoners of War 152 remains have been identified to date, 113 of them were Greek Cypriots and 39 Turkish Cypriots.
More than 200 exhumations at different locations have been carried out so far and about 500 remains have been recovered. There are still 1506 persons whose fate has not been established, he said.
 FOREIGN MINISTER LIBYA - PARISMinister of Foreign Affairs, Markos Kyprianou, will represent the Republic of Cyprus at the celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary of the Libyan Revolution, which will take place on Tuesday, September 1st in Tripolis.
According to an official press release, Kyprianou will depart Monday evening for Libya from Syria, where he is accompanying the President of the Republic Demetris Christofias, on his official visit to the country.
From Libya the Foreign Minister will travel to Paris, where he will accompany President Christofias to the working lunch hosted by the French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
 CYPRUS DONATION - SOMALIAA ceremony to donate military material which will be Cyprus` contribution to the EU initiative to train members of the security forces of the Somali Transitional Federal Government was held on Monday, at the Army Recruitment Centre in Limassol.
During the ceremony, Minister of Defence Costas Papacostas handed over the material to the French Embassy Charge d` Affaires Emmanuelle Blatmann, whose country is leading the EU initiative.
The decision was taken following a proposal by the French Ministry of Defence, according to Security Council Resolution 1863/2009, which urged UN members to contribute to the training and armament of the Security Forces of Somalia, in cooperation with the UN, the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) and the Authorities in Somalia.
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