|Sunday, 25 February 2018|
Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 09-11-03
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 UN DIPLOMAT - CYPRUS QUESTIONThe UN Secretary General`s Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer said on Tuesday that the talks for a Cyprus settlement are progressing well, adding that the property issue is quite complicated.
Speaking after being received by President Demetris Christofias, Downer said the United Nations did not have positions on the various aspects of the Cyprus problem, noting that their only position was that they support a bizonal bicommunal federation.
Asked how the talks were going, Downer said he believed they were ``progressing well`` and pointed out that ``this is a difficult problem but I think the leaders are both committed and they are very slowly but surely making progress.``
Replying to questions, Downer said that the leaders of the two communities at this stage ``have been particularly focusing on the property question, which is one of the more difficult issues.``
``They are really investing a lot of time and energy in that, and we are obviously having discussions with them about those issues,`` he said.
Asked if there were any proposals from the UN on the property issue, Downer said ``we do not make proposals,`` adding that ``we have the advice of some experts and I have those experts here at the moment in Cyprus, and they talk to people around the place on both sides, and they then bring their impressions to me and it informs me in my discussions and my officials` discussions with the two sides from time to time.``
``At the end of the day, the leaders are going to have to make the decisions here and work out what they can live with and what they feel comfortable with, and how a property solution would work,`` he said.
He added that the property issue is ``quite complicated`` and noted that ``there are a number of different areas that you have to focus on, as well as the points of principle.``
Asked if the experts attended the meetings between the leaders of the two communities, Downer said they did not. ``The experts are really just advisors to me. They do not attend the meetings with the leaders,`` he added.
Regarding an interview he gave to Greek Cypriot daily newspaper ``Haravgi``, Downer explained that ``the UN is committed to a bizonal bicommunal federation, and it is very important to understand that, so from the UN point of view that is the basis of the talks that are taking place.``
``These are not talks about something else, and so that is what the UN is about. We do not have positions on property questions, we do not have positions on how you would structure in detail, on governance and power sharing, we do not have positions on territory and so on. But we do have one position and that is that we support a bizonal bicommunal federation and that is the basis on which these talks are taking place, and that is the basis on which both leaders are participating in the talks. That is the only point that we make,`` he said.
To other questions, Downer said ``we are not getting into any debate about the detailed proposals, and of course these are private talks as well, these are not publicly held discussions, so I do not want there to be any discussion to be at cross purposes here, and perhaps that is what has happened, but our only point is that the basis of these talks and the basis on which the leaders are coming together is under the auspices of the UN, to work out how you would establish a bizonal bicommunal federation, with political equality.``
``So, for the UN, our position is that the basis of these talks is for the leaders, amongst other things, to create a federation. Federation is an interesting debate. I come from a federation, I am very familiar with how federations work,`` he said.
Asked if the fact that the UN Secretary General was visiting Athens but not Nicosia was a sign that the negotiations were not going well, Downer said it was not.
``I want to make this absolutely clear. It is certainly not. And obviously there would be an argument if the negotiations were stalling for the Secretary General to come and give the negotiations a push along, so you would not necessarily draw a conclusion that a non visit by the Secretary General meant negotiations were stalling. A visit might mean negotiations were stalling,`` he said, adding that ``it is just a scheduling question.``
He noted that ``the Secretary General wants to come at a convenient time, and a convenient time to the parties to the negotiations, and we will work on that.``
Asked about the crossing point in Limnitis, on the northwest, Downer said ``work is being done by the contractors to establish the exact costs of the work that has to be done and to do the feasibility study,`` adding that ``that work will be finished fairly soon.``
``Once the feasibility study is complete, we know what work has to be done, then there will be a call for tender to do the work that cannot be done until the feasibility study is complete, and then there will be a period when people are able to make bids for the work and then, once that is concluded, the work will begin but at the moment the feasibility study is being completed,`` he concluded.
Several crossing points operate along the ceasefire line to facilitate movement to and from the islands northern Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus. Efforts are underway to open a crossing point at Limnitis as well.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, namely President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, have been engaged in UN-led negotiations since September 2008, with an aim to reunite the island.
 SPOKESMAN - CYPRUS QUESTIONThe Greek Cypriot side will remain consistent with the basis of UN negotiations for a political settlement, which is a bi-zonal bi-communal federation, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said on Tuesday, adding that the United Nations will follow suit as this basis is provided for in numerous UN resolutions.
We have often said that discussions take place on an agreed basis for a settlement, which is the bi-zonal bi-communal federation. We believe that some aspects of the positions the Turkish Cypriots side puts forward on various issues are close to confederation and this is why we repeatedly call on the Turkish Cypriot side to work with the same consistency we are working with, on this basis, the Spokesman added, speaking to the press.
Replying to questions, he said the President and the top UN envoy on Cyprus always have the chance to discuss various issues and exchange different views
 EUROPEAN COMMISSION - AUTUMN ECONOMIC FORECASTThe growth rate of the Cypriot economy is expected to be negative this year, but less than that of the other countries in the euro zone, according to the autumn economic forecast of the European Commission.
A negative trend is being recorded in the fiscal deficit, which this year will exceed the 3% of GDP ceiling, while the Commission foresees a further increase next year and in 2011.
If the Commission forecast comes true, then, in all likelihood, Cyprus, also, will be in spring under the Community surveillance status system, along with other 13 euro zone countries.
 COMMUNICATIONS MINISTER - NEW LARNACA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORTThe new Larnaka International Airport aims to become a hub in the wider Eastern Mediterranean region, Communications and Works Minister Nicos Nicolaides has told CNA, ahead of the airport inauguration on Saturday.
The new airport, he added, is also expected to help revive and develop further the tourist industry of the island, increase transit trade and attract new investment.
He noted that the old Larnaka International Airport played an important role and it was pivotal in efforts to revitalise and support the economic, cultural and social life in Cyprus during the critical years after the 1974 Turkish invasion until today.
Invited by CNA to make a statement on the significance of the project, Nicolaides said.
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