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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 10-09-03

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has expressed the appreciation of his country to the Cyprus government, for its clear stance on the issue of the terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens.

    Lieberman was speaking after a meeting here on Friday with his Cypriot counterpart Marcos Kyprianou who reiterated that the Republic of Cyprus condemns the terrorist attack near the city of Hebron that resulted to the tragic loss of the lives of four Israeli civilians.

    Speaking at a joint press conference, Kyprianou said that they had the opportunity to discuss issues of mutual interest, both bilateral issues and regional issues.

    We had a significant number of meetings over the last year. These meetings give us the opportunity to update each other about recent developments, but also to discuss how we can take further the relations between the two countries, he added.

    He said that there is a very broad spectrum of cooperation between Cyprus and Israel in all fields, adding that our job is to look always for new areas where we can develop these relations even further.

    Cypriot Minister said that the visit of the Israeli Foreign Minister coincides with the launching of direct talks between the two sides in the Middle East peace process and thats something that the Cyprus Government will very strongly support.

    We believe that it is a very good opportunity to find a solution to the Middle East problem and through these direct talks there is a very good possibility of achieving that, he noted.

    He also said that we also have a problem that we are trying to resolve through direct talks, adding that we appreciate the fact the negotiations aiming at solving the Middle East are taking place in the context that the solution has to be found between the two sides, by the two sides that they are going to live with the solution.

    Kyprianou recalled that the Cyprus government has already issued a statement condemning the terrorist attack that caused the life of four Israeli civilians, noting that the government condemns all terrorist attacks.

    He also said that it is very important for the whole international community to make sure that these acts do not derail and undermine the peace process.

    Kyprianou stressed that they had also discussed about the relations between Israel and the EU and that he also briefed his counterpart on the current state of play of the negotiations to solve the Cyprus problem and the initiative of President Christofias regarding his proposals that will help and boost the negotiation process.

    Finally, as he said, we had the opportunity to discuss the initiative of the Governments of Cyprus and Greece on delivering aid to Gaza and thats something that is still on the table.

    The EU is supporting this initiative. That is something that is always on the table and it is an issue we continue to discuss, he added.

    On his part, Israeli Foreign Minister referring to the various contacts held between the two countries, he said that this is a sign that Cyprus and Israel have very stable and good relations.

    We really appreciate your very clear message and stance regarding the terrorist attacks on the innocent citizens in Israel in an attempt to torpedo any talks, any effort to resolve our conflict, he added.

    He stressed that the close cooperation between the two counties can bring benefits to both people, adding that its win-win situation.

    Asked how confident he is that the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis can be resolved during these talks in the next twelve months, he said that it is very a complicated dispute, expressing the view that the best and realistic approach to the Middle East conflict is a long-term intermediate agreement, a long-term intermediate solution.

    He also said that he was not sure if its possible in this year or the next year to resolve all problems in connection with the Middle East issue.

    I prefer to concentrate all our efforts on two issues: security and economy.I think it is what we really need today, economy, prosperity for the Palestinians, security for the Israelis, he noted. He said that ``if we achieve these two things it will be much easier to move forward.

    Asked about the prospects of Cyprus playing a role as a transit point for ships heading to Gaza, he said that the Israeli government is still examining this proposal, describing it as a very positive proposal.

    There are many technical problems. Its on the table but we will continue to discuss this issue in order to understand better what can be done in this case, he added.

    Asked about the issue concerning the deposit of natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean, he said that this issue is on the table and ``we make efforts to achieve agreement and move forward.

    He added that there are good contacts at technical level and also understanting at policial level and that the matter will proceed. On his part, Kyprianou said that we both have positive approach on this issue.

    The three-tier proposal of President Christofias is as follows: the first one provides for linking discussions on property to territory and immigration, citizenship, aliens and asylum. Property and territory are considered to be two of the most hotly contested issues at the talks President Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu are engaged in.

    The second proposal calls for the implementation of Security Council resolution 550 which provides for the return of the fenced off area of Varosha, now under Turkish occupation, to the UN. The objective of the proposal is to restore the town and return it to its legitimate inhabitants. The proposal envisages also the opening of the citys port for trade for Turkish Cypriots, under EU supervision, as well as the restoration of the walled city of Famagusta (old part of the city).

    The third proposal proposes the convening of an international conference on Cyprus, once the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot side are within reach of an agreement on the internal aspects of the Cyprus problem. This conference must be called by the UN, and apart from the Republic of Cyprus and the islands two communities, the EU, the five permanent members of the Security Council and Cyprus three guarantor powers will attend (Greece, Turkey and Britain are the guarantor powers according to the 1960 Constitution).

    President Christofias is currently engaged in talks with the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community to find a negotiated settlement.


    President Demetris Christofias expressed on Friday hope for a ``serious discussions`` on the property chapter, in view of the two all-day meetings with the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu in the framework of the UN-led direct talks for a Cyprus settlement.

    In statements after his arrival at the Presidential Palace following today`s meeting with Eroglu, the President said that no documents were submitted today, adding that the positions of the two sides on property will be submitted ``in due time.``

    ``We referred orally to our general positions on property. The substance is still ahead of us and the discussion will commence next week,`` President Christofias said speaking to the press.

    Replying to questions, the President said that no documents were submitted during the meeting and that the two sides outlined their positions orally.


    President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias said on Friday that it is the distinct philosophy of the government ``to show special care for cultural cultivation as a necessary social good for all the citizens, for the simple man``, adding that the Cypriot society ``needs, perhaps today more than ever, the continuous upgrading and development of the values and principles that give content, vision and perspective to our people``.

    In a speech at the performance of La Boheme Opera during the 12th Pafos Aphrodite Festival, President Christofias stressed that ``the continuing Turkish occupation, the commercialisation of everything, the massive subculture, the emergence of money and of the so-called life style as a human end in itself, gradually undermine Cypriot society``, adding that ``our belief is that the factors giving rise to this situation need to be faced with radical and specific measures``.

    He said that ``The co-operation of the company `Pafos Aphrodite Festival Cyprus` with the National Opera of Slovakia constitutes one more proof of the very good traditional relations that exist between the two countries and contributes to their further strengthening``.

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