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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 09-09-21

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Turkey must be held accountable with regard to illegal immigration, Cypriot Minister of the Interior Neoclis Sylikiotis has said.

    Sylikiotis` remarks come ahead of a visit to Ankara later this year by Tobias Billstrom, the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council President, Swedish Minister for Migration and Asylum Policy and European Commission Vice President Jacques Barrot to request the implementation of a readmission agreement between Turkey and Greece and the conclusion of readmission agreements with all EU member-states.

    The Minister was speaking at an EU Justice and Home Affairs Council during which the 27 EU Ministers reviewed progress in efforts to implement the June European Council conclusions on illegal immigration.

    Sylikiotis referred in particular to the need for a readmission agreement with Turkey, as stipulated in the EU Summit conclusions.

    ``Turkey must be held accountable as it is proven that it is the main country of origin and transit stop of illegal immigrants in the EU,`` Sylikiotis stressed, who presented figures according to which 40% of Cyprus` illegal immigrants travel from Turkey to Cyprus` northern Turkish-occupied areas. Many of them cross the ceasefire line into the southern government controlled part of the country.

    In 1974 Turkey invaded Cyprus and occupied 37 per cent of its territory and as a result the government of Cyprus is prevented from exercising effective control over that part of the country.

    Furthermore, French Minister of Immigration Eric Besson presented today a proposal which notes that a readmission agreement must be signed between Turkey and the EU, adding that the 2002 EU Summit gave such instructions but negotiations did not advance due to Ankara`s negative stance.


    Communications and Works Minister Nicos Nicolaides has said that the damage caused by the devastating tornado that struck on Friday many areas of the capital Nicosia will be addressed in three stages. Nicolaides said that after the tornado the Public Works Department repair crews, civil defence and other services began repairing buildings, clearing the affected areas from debris and lifting obstacles that blocked traffic and prevented various services from doing their job.

    He said that three days after the tornado teams of experts were recording the damage at private and public buildings, to see how the state can assist those affected. Nicolaides noted that private buildings will have to be repaired by their owners and the state will look into the possibility of supporting them financially. With regard to public buildings, Nicolaides said that they will be repaired by state services.

    Nicosia District Officer Argyris Papanastasiou said that most of Nicosia District Adminstration repair crews are recording, in cooperation with the local authorities, the damage, adding that their work is expected to be completed by the end of the week. Papanastasiou said that compensation will be given on the basis of criteria approved in 2004 by the Council of Ministers. He said in Latsia area, south of the capital Nicosia, some 200 building including shops, light industries, houses and cultural centres have been damaged while in a nearby area, about 20 buildings have been affected by Fridays tornado, which uprooted trees, lifted roofs and moved heavy vehicles, in addition to breaking hundreds of glass shop windows.


    Finance Minister Charilaos Stavrakis believes that increased liquidity and ``very low`` lending interest rates is the key to recovery of the Cypriot economy in 2010. Stavrakis has initiated a series of meetings with social partners (industrialists, employers and trade unions) in a bid to exchange views on the 2010 state budget and the current state of the economy.

    As a result of the global financial crisis, the Cypriot economy contracted by 0.5% in 2009 compared to a 3.6% growth in 2008, whereas according to the 2010 draft budget, the local economy in 2010 is expected to grow by 0.5% and the fiscal deficit is projected at 4.5%, exceeding the 3% boundary which would put the economy under EU supervision.

    Reiterating his call for increased spending both by businesspeople and by consumers, Stavrakis said that despite the general negative climate, there are some positive developments such as the looming recovery in the Euro area, the decision by Marfin Laiki Bank, one of Cyprus main private organizations, to keep its headquarters in Cyprus and the expected decline of the lending rates.


    Cyprus` Commissioner for Children`s Rights Leda Koursoumba will participate in the 2009 Annual Conference and General Assembly of the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children (ENOC), to be held in Paris September 23-25 2009 under the theme The best interest for the child. This is the second time that Cyprus participates in the ENOC annual conference. The Cypriot Commissioner became a full member of the network from the first year that this began to function.

    The ENOC annual meeting includes sharing information on members activities and strategies, discussion of particular themes and adoption of position statements, as well as network business.

    During the meeting, the Cypriot Commissioner will brief her European counterparts for the work done by the institution during the last year. She will also present a survey it conducted in 2008 on securing the participation right of children who are staying at shelters for the protection of children in Cyprus. Koursoumba will also represent ENOC at the second meeting of the Council of Europe Experts Committee towards European guidelines on child friendly justice, to be held in Strasbourg on September 28-30.

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