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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 10-03-30

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus are encouraged by the important progress they have made so far on the Chapters of Governance and Power Sharing, EU Matters and the Economy and are convinced that with perseverance they shall achieve a comprehensive settlement.

    The position of President of the Republic Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat is underlined in a joint statement issued at the end of the todays meeting here, in the framework of UN-led direct talks to solve the Cyprus problem.

    The meeting, which took place at the official residence of the UN Secretary General`s Special Representative in Cyprus Tayie Brook Zerihoun, was the last before the April ``elections`` in the northern Turkish occupied areas of the Republic.

    Reading the statement after this mornings session, UNSGs Special Advisor to Cyprus Alexander Downer, who was flanked by the two leaders, said we have been engaged in a serious effort to find a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem in the shortest possible time. We express our appreciation to the United Nations Secretary General for his mission of Good Offices entrusted to him by the Security Council and for his efforts aimed at finding a mutually agreed solution of the Cyprus problem.

    After many meetings that have taken place to date, and our discussions on all aspects of the Cyprus problem, we are encouraged by the important progress we have made so far on the Chapters of Governance and Power Sharing, EU Matters and the Economy and we are convinced that with perseverance we shall achieve a comprehensive settlement, the statement noted.

    We underscore, the leaders said in the statement, the fact that negotiations are being conducted under the overriding principle of the integrated whole approach which means that nothing is agreed unless everything is agreed.

    Furthermore, we are convinced that our mutual concern for the common good of the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots and our will for a comprehensive solution will soon lead us to an exhaustive discussion of the remaining aspects of the Cyprus problem and the overcoming of the divergent positions soon, so as to achieve a mutually acceptable solution that will be put to separate simultaneous referenda.

    In addition, the statement added that whilst the negotiations remain confidential it is recognised that the leaders may explain to their communities the progress made so far and the differences that still need to be resolved. Asked when the next meeting is scheduled, Talat replied after the elections while Christofias said Our next meeting.

    On Monday, President Christofias wished Talat every success in next months elections among the Turkish Cypriot community, saying that he would like to see him at the negotiating table after the April 18 elections.

    To a question whether this statement represented a joint statement, President Christofias replied no, it is a mere statement, it is not a joint statement. There shall be no joint statement. We do not enter any detail, he added.

    On Sunday, Presidential Commissioner George Iacovou had announced that a joint statement by the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus was not feasible. He had also said the Turkish Cypriot side requested that a joint statement be issued after their March 30 meeting.

    However, Iacovou had noted that the Greek Cypriot side did not make any commitment in this direction and that the aides of the leaders held two meetings, during which the Turkish Cypriot side submitted various documents, which indicated the distance between the aims and expectations of either side.

    Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    The leaders of the two communities have been engaged in UN-led direct negotiations since September 2008, aiming to reunite the island.


    President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso has welcomed the joint statement of the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus on the progress achieved in the talks for a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    ``I welcome the joint statement announced today by the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, Demetris Christofias and Mehmet Ali Talat. It shows the level of commitment and responsibility that the two leaders are putting in the settlement talks. The statement shows also the important progress achieved since the full fledged negotiations started on 3 September 2008,`` Barroso said.

    He added that ``these achievements clearly demonstrate that a settlement is in reach and that there is a chance to finalise the talks in the next few months. I would like to reiterate the full support of the European Commission to the efforts of the leaders of the two Communities aimed at reaching a settlement soon and our readiness to provide all the necessary support to the process. The Commission follows very closely the development of the talks and hopes that this long standing conflict on European soil will come to an end,`` he concluded.


    The new revised tax scheme of the Cyprus merchant shipping, approved last week by the European Commission, will boost the competitiveness of the Cypriot shipping industry, Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, Minister of Communications and Works said on Tuesday.

    The new tax scheme, in force until December 2019 with an optional extension for an additional ten years period, renders the tonnage tax, a more competitive tax system compared with the corporate tax, as compatible with the requirements of the EU aquis.

    The basic advantage of the Cypriot scheme is that ship owners have the option of a more stable tax regime based on the tonnage of their ships, as opposed to the corporate tax, which is imposed on the profitability, while the new tax scheme is extended to cover ship management and ship chartering.

    ``The new measures will enhance further Cyprus shipping and our national economy at a moment when international shipping is seriously affected by the persisting serious international economic crisis,`` Marcoullis told a press conference adding that the scheme ``will contribute to the stability and further development of the competitiveness of the Cyprus shipping industry, introduce incentives for new shipping activities and extend the implementation of the EU maritime sector policy beyond European boundaries.``


    The Board of Directors of the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency (CIPA) has established a Consulting Group of Experts for the Investment Funds, in an effort to attract investments to Cyprus.

    According to an announcement, issued by the CIPA, the need for establishing the Consulting Group of Experts has come from the results of a survey about the banking sector.

    The Group comprises three persons with deep knowledge and experience on investment funds. Angelos Grigoriades, member of CIPA Board of Directors has been appointed as President of the Group.

    CIPA was established with a Council of Ministers decision in 2007, and is registered as a non profit company limited by guarantee and fully funded by the Government of Cyprus. The Board of 13 Directors (10 from the private and 3 from the public sector) was appointed for an initial 4 year term.

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