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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 10-12-07

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    President of the Republic Demetris Christofias said on Tuesday that the struggle for the reunification of Cyprus and the restoration of the human rights of all citizens was hard and needed unity and joint efforts.

    President Christofias was speaking after a ceremony at the Presidential Palace on the occasion of the Day of Resistance, during which he laid a wreath at the statue of the first President of the Republic the late Archbishop Makarios III, in the presence of members of the Council of Ministers and other officials.

    He noted that ``the House of Representatives has set this day as a day to honour democracy and the memory of the people who have died defending the Republic.``

    President Christofias added that ``in December 1974 (four months after the Turkish invasion) Makarios returned to Cyprus after an obligatory exile, which followed the fascist coup d` etat and the Turkish invasion and occupation.``

    ``Since then, our people have been struggling to restore their human rights. Democracy has been restored in the country, democratic institutions function, I would say, impeccably. There is not only freedom of speech but something more, a ceaseless dialogue, which is of course a component of democracy and synthesis, wherever possible, of positions and views,`` he said.

    He noted that ``there remains, however, a great terminus, the liberation of the country, the reunification of the island and the restoration of the human rights of all the citizens of the Republic of Cyprus, irrespective of the language they speak and the god they believe in, and I mean our Turkish Cypriot compatriots, the Maronites, the Armenians and the Latins.``

    ``This struggle is hard. Unity, solidarity and a joint effort are needed, and I would say a joint effort with those Turkish Cypriots who suffer pain for this country, and they are not just a few. They are under pressure and oppression from the Turkish settlers and of course Turkey, as an occupying force. We must join forces and, I reiterate, press on with rapprochement and the joint struggle of the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots, until the ultimate liberation,`` he concluded.


    Minister of Defence Costas Papacostas assured on Tuesday that the Greek Cypriot side is determined to find a solution of the Cyprus problem, adding that, ``if Turkey truly seeks a viable and functional solution, it must shift from certain unacceptable positions, in order to reach a solution the soonest possible.``

    Papacostas also noted that, ``as long as the Turkish occupation troops tread on the sacred land of our semi-occupied country, the National Guard will continue to equip and upgrade itself.``

    In an address read out by Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence Christos Malikkides at the Military Police graduation ceremony in Nicosia, Papacostas assured that ``we will never risk the operational readiness and defence capability of the National Guard, we will never risk the safety of the country and the people.``

    ``We know that the solution of the Cyprus problem needs much hard work. For this reason, we have undertaken initiatives, which paved the way for the reunification of our small and tormented homeland,`` he said, adding that ``the difficulties, the obstacles and the pressure we are facing will never curb our determination to give our utmost for a peaceful solution of the Cyprus problem.``


    Despite a 68% climb in French direct investments in Cyprus, tourist arrivals from France to Cyprus remain low, a Cyprus-French business breakfast heard today.

    In statements following a business breakfast organised by the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency and the French-Cypriot Business Association, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Antonis Paschalides and French Ambassador to Cyprus Jean Marc Rives said French direct investment increased by 68% in one year, but tourist arrivals amounted to just 30,000.

    Paschalides said that big French companies are already operating in Cyprus while there is interest for more direct investment in the fields of energy, tourism and maritime.

    Responding to questions, he said however that there are some problems concerning red tape, adding that these will be looked into by the competent Ministers.


    Minister of Labour and Social Insurance Soteroulla Charalambous has participated in the EU Employment and Social Policy Council, which discussed inter alia the amendment of the Directive on maternity.

    Addressing the Council, on Monday in Brussels, Charalambous said Cyprus gives great emphasis on the continuing improvement of the framework for the protection of maternity and the support of the family, in a way that allows for the effective conciliation of family and work.

    She also informed the Council that in Cyprus maternity leave has already been extended to 18 weeks and that recently the social partners agreed on further extension in cases of premature labour, when there is a need for the hospitalisation of the newborn.

    Charalambous noted that the Council should focus on improving the level of protection for maternity.

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