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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 10-06-29

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The British Minister for Europe David Lidington has stressed that Turkey has an important role to play in making progress towards a political settlement in Cyprus.

    Lidingtons statement is included in a letter to the President of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK Peter Drousiotis to thank him for his letter of congratulations on his appointment as a Minister for Europe.

    The British Minister expresses his belief that a settlement in Cyprus is in the best interests of both Cypriot communities and offers the best future for the island.

    He notes that he is fully supportive of the efforts that Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu are making to a achieve a negotiated settlement.

    Lidington urges all sides to make the necessary compromises and for all Cypriots not to let this opportunity slip, expressing at the same time the hope that 2010 will be the year that we see a solution in Cyprus.

    In addition, he points out in his letter that he agrees that Turkey too has an important role to play in making progress towards a settlement in Cyprus, adding that he wants to see Turkey as a member of the EU bringing benefits to Europe, the region and the UK.

    The reforms being made by Turkey as part of its EU accession process are encouraging and active support for a solution in Cyprus is an important part of this process, he adds.

    The British Minister goes on to say that the Cypriot community in the UK also has a part to play supporting the negotiations, welcoming the work of the National Federation of Cypriots and other organizations with an interest in Cyprus.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Peace talks are currently underway between President Christofias and Eroglu, under UN auspices.


    The government of the Republic of Cyprus is expecting the extradition documents from the US, in connection with a Canadian citizen, wanted in the US on charges of espionage and money laundering. The Canadian national was arrested at Larnaka airport this morning, police spokesman Michalis Katsounotos has said. The extradition process before Larnaca District Court is expected to begin within a month, he added.

    Canadian national, Robert Christopher Metsos, 54, was arrested by the Cypriot Police Tuesday, as he tried to board a plane bound for Budapest. He was on the stop list, following a tip off from Interpol, police said. The US authorities had notified the Cypriot authorities that Metsos and others were acting as spies, giving secret information to Russia, the Police Spokesman explained. He is wanted in the US on two charges: conspiracy to act as a non registered agent of a foreign country and conspiracy to launder money, he added.

    According to the Police spokesman, the Cypriot Police received last Saturday an international arrest warrant issued by Interpol at the request of the US Authorities, asking for the extradition of Metsos to the US so he can face charges of espionage for Russia and money laundering, before the South New York Court. He appeared before Larnaka District Court which released him on bail of 20.000 euro and 9.000 dollars. The extradition hearing has been set for July 29.


    The Ministry of Health and the Cyprus Tourism Organization (CTO) are set to announce a strategic plan to promote medical tourism in Cyprus. In statements after a meeting with the CTO leadership, the Minister of Health Christos Patsalides said that the plan concerning grants for the accreditation of private hospitals has already been completed and is set to be announced.

    Grants could reach up to 70 per cent of the cost, the Minister explained, adding that the plan will address the Arab and European markets. He added that interest is also expressed by Russian investors. The Minister said that in times of economic crisis, we must find ways to expand our services but also to promote new products which will highlight Cyprus strategic geographical location in providing services.

    Patsalides talked about the need to attract health tourism through incentives and better promotion of local services. He said that the Ministry of Health is working with the CTO, which chairs the competent committee set up to draft a comprehensive strategy in cooperation with the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) and other interested organisations.


    The European Investment Bank provides a 200 million euro loan to the Electricity Authority of Cyprus to develop and extend electricity transmission and distribution networks throughout Cyprus. EIB Vice-President, Plutarchos Sakellaris, whose responsibilities include EIB`s lending activities in Cyprus as well as energy issues, said he was delighted to sign the fifth loan with the Electricity Authority of Cyprus, adding that through our long-lasting and good cooperation we were able to provide significant support to the electricity generation and transport in Cyprus.

    This loan will cater for growth and enhanced efficiency of the energy sector of Cyprus. This is of particular importance as the country`s electricity network is not interconnected and has no other indigenous energy resources, he said. The project consists of a four-year investment programme (2010-2013) aimed at meeting growing demand while reducing also transmission and distribution losses.

    The EIB has supported a number of energy projects in Cyprus, mostly in cooperation with the Electricity Authority of Cyprus. This includes loans totaling EUR 200 million for the Vassilikos electricity power plant, one of the largest investments undertaken in Cyprus and the Bank`s support for the previous upgrading of the electricity transmission and distribution network, for a total of 130 million euro.

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