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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 10-07-09

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Fridays discussion with the Turkish Cypriot leader, in the framework of the UN-led negotiations for a Cyprus settlement, was a ``small step forward``, President Demetris Christofias said on Friday, pointing out however that this cannot be described as progress.

    In statements after a meeting with Dervis Eroglu, Christofias reiterated his proposal for a discussion of the chapter on property in parallel with territorial concerns, stressing that this would simplify and accelerate the discussion on property.

    ``The discussion on property continued today. Both sides submit positions and views in an effort to find a common language, which, I must say, has not been found yet,`` President Christofias said, adding that ``essentially both sides reiterate their positions on issues of principle.``

    Asked if a step forward has been taken, President Christofias replied: ``a small step forward has been made,`` adding however that ``we cannot say that progress has been achieved.``

    Replying to questions about the format of the talks and his proposal for a parallel discussion on property and terriroty, President Christofias said that he insists on his proposal, adding that the other side also insists that the two chapters cannot be linked.

    ``My view is that such a proposal would help us see the real prospects of a settlement of the complex and difficult issue of property,`` he said.

    The President explained that the larger the territory to be returned to Greek Cypriots, the easier it will be to settle the property issue, noting also that it will help to know what land now under Turkish occupation will be returned to Greek Cypriot administration in a federal solution and what properties will be returned to their owners.

    ``The Turkish Cypriot side has its own positions, we have our own, both sides insist on this issue,`` he added.

    If the Turkish side wants a solution, as they say, by the end of the year, the President pointed out, they should be the first to agree to a parallel discussion of these two issues, property and territory.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Peace talks began in September 2008 between President Christofias and former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, who was replaced by Eroglu in April this year.


    President Demetris Christofias said on Friday that the political parties which rejected government bills to increase corporate tax and immovable property tax will be responsible, should Cyprus fail to consolidate its public finances within the EU deadline.

    I cannot applaud the House decision, on the contrary I feel very bad about it, the President said one day after the House plenary rejected two government bills providing for an increase in corporate tax by one percentage point to 11% for two years and the introduction of a 7 per mille tax for approximately 8.000 big real estate owners.

    The two proposed bills were part of a fiscal consolidation package aiming at reducing Cyprus` budget deficit from 6.1% of GDP today to 3% by 2012, a target set by the European Commission. Due to the global financial crisis Cyprus saw its revenues plunge resulting to increased deficits in 2009 and 2010, well over the Euro zone 3% limit.

    Noting that the government has lost 1.3 billion in revenue due to the financial crisis, President Christofias wondered how these losses would be covered.


    The President of the Hellenic Parliament, Phillipos Petsalnikos, arrives in Cyprus on Sunday, July 11 to pay an official visit.

    According to the programme of the visit, Petsalnikos will be received by President Demetris Christofias, and will have consecutive meetings with Archbishop Crystostomos II, House President Marios Garoyan and the leaders or representatives of parliamentary parties, as well as the Mayor of Nicosia, Eleni Mavrou.

    The President of the Helenic Parliament will lay a wreath at the tomb in Makedonitissa (a Nicosia suburb) where Greek soldiers killed during the 1974 Turkish invasion are buried.


    Cyprus trade deficit recorded an increase in January-April 2010 according to the figures published today by the Statistical Service of Cyprus.

    These figures show that total imports/arrivals (covering total imports from third countries and arrivals from other member states) in January-April 2010 amounted to 2.025,3mn euro as compared to 1.836,6mn in January-April 2009.

    Total exports/dispatches (covering total exports to third countries and dispatches to other Member States) in January-April 2010 were 344,6mn euro compared to 310,5mn in January-April 2009.

    The trade deficit was 1.680,7mn euro in January-April 2010 compared to 1.526,1mn in the corresponding period of 2009.

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