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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 10-01-26

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot Mehmet Ali Talat, continued here Tuesday the intensive talks on governance and power sharing, as part of their effort to find a Cyprus settlement.

    In statements to the press on his return to the Presidential Palace after the conclusion of the second day of the second round of intensive talks, President Christofias said the discussions would continue on Wednesday.

    Asked about the reports suggesting that UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is scheduled to visit Cyprus next weekend, President Christofias said is not appropriate for him to announce a UNSG visit, whereas the competent authorities are the United Nations.

    President Christofias and Mehmet Ali Talat have been engaged in direct negotiations since September 2008 with a view to solve the problem of Cyprus, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.


    Major challenges remain for Cyprus tourism, Finance Minister Charilaos Stavrakis said on Tuesday, speaking at the Cyprus Tourism Forum 2010, held in Nicosia. Stavrakis pointed out that tourist arrival in Cyprus in the last years showed a downward trend, adding, that revenues from tourism over the past two years indicated an even greater decline. ``Major challenges remain for tourism and there are no easy solutions,`` he stated.

    The Finance Minster said it would be more appropriate to focus on medium-term measures, in collaboration with the tourism stakeholders rather than focus on temporary measures to improve the tourism product. According to Stavrakis, among the major problems of Cyprus tourism is the inability to attract tourists with high incomes and high-purchasing power. Additionally he described as non-competitive the tourism product offered by Cyprus, compared to the product offered by other competitor countries, which are cheaper.

    He also noted that Cyprus is influenced by some uncertain factors, such as the exchange rate of Euro against sterling (GBP). It doesn`t seem to be easy to regain our competitiveness, taking into account the costs in Cyprus, so definitely the next few years will be difficult, admitted Stavrakis. He added that Cyprus would most probably continue to lose market share, but expressed optimism that the picture may improve due to the cyclical recovery from the recession in global markets.

    Stavrakis pointed out that despite the large fiscal challenges over the last two years; Cyprus Government has prepared two packages of support for tourism of about 50 million euros per year.


    Tourist arrivals for 2010 seem to be encouraging, stated Tuesday Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Antonis Pashalides even if tourism representatives predict the year to be difficult with enough challenges.

    Speaking during a tourism forum, organized by the Cyprus Tourist Enterprises Association and the Industrialists and Employers Federation, the Minister said everyone involved in the tourist industry, worldwide appreciate that 2010 will be a difficult year for tourism. The world financial crisis, with its tangible repercussions for the economies of the countries which Cyprus draws tourism from, has brought us face to face with a year of changes, said Paschalides. Although things for 2010 are not easy, under no circumstances we can justify panic or disappointment, he stressed.

    Bearing in mind that tourism is one of the fundamental pillars of the Cyprus economy, it is essential for an intense and collective effort to take place to get the best possible results, Paschalides added. Initial indications for tourist arrivals in 2010 seem to be encouraging. However, we must all wait, since it is merely January and collectively take all necessary measures to support tourism. We hope that with the measures we will all take, there will be better results at the end of the day, so we are optimistic that 2010 will be slightly better than 2009, Paschalides added.


    Cypriot MP Christos Pourgourides has been elected Chairman of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, during the first part of the 2010 Ordinary Session on Monday in Strasbourg.

    In statements to CNA, Pourgourides said he would be promoting a series of priorities, which includes improving human rights conditions in member states. ``The Chairperson of the Committee is able to direct the agenda, make suggestions to the Committee and in general has the coordinating role of the Committee`s activities. Furthermore, in the capacity of Chairperson of the Committee, he participates in the panel of the Assembly, which takes on the decisions concerning the way in which the Assembly functions,`` he said, adding that ``this is where the climate and decisions are formed.``

    Referring to his priorities, Pourgourides said ``the first priority is to restrict the violation of human rights across the European continent, in order to restrict the number of appeals to the European Court of Human Rights, which is in danger of suffocating from the huge number of appeals made over the past few years.`` ``In order to meet this aim, much must be done in the member states, with the main aim being the highest possible respect of human rights,`` he said.

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