|Wednesday, 8 April 2020|
Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-04-13
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 EUROPEAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT CYPRUSPresident of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy has expressed the hope Cyprus would be a united island when it takes over the rotating Presidency of the Council next year.
He also called on the leaders of both communities to act in a spirit of compromise to find common ground on the remaining issues discussed at the UN-led direct talks aiming at reaching a solution of the Cyprus problem.
President of the Republic Demetris Christofias noted that Turkeys intransigence is aimed at convincing the international public opinion of the need for implementation of strict timetables and arbitration, if a solution to the Cyprus problem is to be found.
The President said that in the framework of the direct talks with the Turkish Cypriot leader, he has submitted specific, constructive proposals that could give a boost to the process, if Turkey really wants to, stressing the need for putting pressure on Turkey in order to change its stance and allow for progress in the negotiations.
President Christofias and the European Council President were speaking to the press after a working breakfast they had on Wednesday at the Presidential Palace, in the capital city of Cyprus, Nicosia.
In his statements, the President said they had the opportunity to exchange views on the issues of the economic crisis, the crisis in the region and the Cyprus problem.
Referring to the recent summit of the Heads of States/ Governments of the Eurozone, in Brussels last March, President Christofias noted that the Republic of Cyprus agrees with the strengthening of economic governance, in the framework of the efforts to overcome the economic crisis and to prevent a repetition of its effects.
It is necessary though, he noted, to take into account the particularities of small member states, adding that he repeated to the President of the EC our position in relation to the issue of a common consolidated corporate tax base and specifically the need to respect the comparative competitive advantage of member states.
I also informed Mr. Van Rompuy of the progress made in cooperation and coordination with our partners in the Trio- Presidency, Poland and Denmark, towards the organization the 18-month presidency of the European Council.
Moreover, he said they had the opportunity to exchange views on the latest developments in North Africa and the Middle East.
The democratic uprisings have resulted in dramatic changes in our neighbouring countries. Our position remains that the decisions for the future of these peoples should be taken by them through peaceful and democratic means, he added. Until now, he said, Cyprus has not been affected by the instability in northern Africa. We follow the increasing tension in the Middle East though, with great concern. And that relates to the fact that the countries of the region are traditionally the countries of origin or transit of the majority of illegal immigrants and asylum seekers.
The President said that Cyprus supports the declared position and welcomes the measures adopted at EU level for the support of the Mediterranean EU member states that are affected by the situation in northern Africa.
President Christofias also said that the Republic of Cyprus considers that there is a need for better coordination and cooperation between EU member states. We are concerned, specifically, by the adoption of decisions on the European level in a rush and without having cross checked information, regarding the situation on the ground.
In addition, he expressed the conviction that Mediterranean EU member states, like the Republic of Cyprus, could pass on messages from the EU to third countries of the region much easier than anyone else. This ease stems from a number of factors, including our geographical proximity, as well as the traditional close and friendly ties with the countries of our region.
In that respect, he added, Cyprus could provide an added value in the promotion of the EU goals, in relation to the current crises in the southern coast of the Mediterranean.
Additionally, he informed President Van Rompuy regarding the latest developments on the Cyprus problem, noting that Turkeys intransigence is aimed at convincing the international public opinion of the need for implementation of strict timetables and arbitration, if a solution to the Cyprus problem is to be found.
As we have repeatedly underlined though, such a possibility is completely unacceptable. Cypriots have bitter experiences regarding the implementation of strict timetables and arbitration, which they have judged to be completely subjective, he added.
He went on to say that we cannot and should not forget that Turkey is continuing its illegal occupation of Cyprus, violating the relevant United Nations Resolutions and at the same time is a candidate country for accession to the EU which has undertaken certain obligations against the Union, including the Republic of Cyprus that it persistently refuses to implement.
President Christofias stressed that in the framework of the direct talks with the Turkish Cypriot leader, he has submitted specific, constructive proposals that could give a boost to the process, if Turkey really wants to.
Finally, he stressed the need for putting pressure on Turkey in order to change its stance and allow for progress in the negotiations.
On his part, President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy said that during their meeting they talked in particular about the recent economic measures approved by the European Council.
He stressed, Our political commitment is to make sure that our economies are competitive enough to create jobs and to sustain the welfare of our citizens. That is what our work is about, adding that the economic package approved on 25 March will help us to recover from the crisis.
Of course the problems of some countries are not over yet. But we have the instruments to deal with them. Those problems are the remainders of the past, in which there were no instruments and no political will to tackle the imbalances, he added.
In addition, he said that they talked in particular about the Euro Plus Pact, which comes on top of all the other measures in the package to improve Member States` economic performance, noting that President Christofias informed me that his Government was already preparing the Reform and Stability Program of Cyprus.
In preparation for the next European Council on 24 June, Van Rompuy said that they also spoke about challenges in the area of migration, asylum and border management, adding that the EU is fully aware that the present situation in the Southern Neighbourhood region could add to the migratory pressures which Cyprus already faces.
I therefore affirmed to President Christofias that the EU will continue to show solidarity with Cyprus as well as with other Member States directly affected by large scale migratory movements, as he said.
He said for Cyprus, the measures already include financial assistance as well as practical support through the activities of FRONTEX and the newly established European Asylum Support Office.
Herman Van Rompuy said that he knows that Cyprus attaches particular importance to the conclusion of an EU level agreement on readmission with Turkey, adding that this would indeed help to manage migration flows and to combat irregular immigration.
He assured EU will continue to push for the swift conclusion and entry into force of the agreement.
President Christofias and I are convinced that these initiatives are already paving the way for more modern EU policies in the areas of migration, asylum and border control. We will both continue our efforts and we will work closely together in the preparation of our next European Council in June, he said.
He said they also agreed that while the EU needs to tackle migration and border controls more robustly, we should not forget the positive developments in our Southern Neighbourhood. The EU will support all steps towards democratic transformation. In the June Council we will further discuss this issue.
Additionally, he said that President Christofias briefed him on the Cyprus issue, stressing that the EU continues to fully support the efforts of the leaders of both communities in Cyprus and the UN to achieve a comprehensive settlement as soon as possible.
I shared my hope with President Christofias: when Cyprus takes over the rotating Presidency of the Council next year, we would like Cyprus to be a united island, he noted.
In conclusion, he said that I encourage the leaders of both communities to act in a spirit of compromise to find common ground on the remaining issues.
 DOWNER STATEMENTSUN Secretary Generals Special Advisor for Cyprus Alexander Downer has said that any population census conducted in Cyprus must have the credibility of the UN attached to it.
Downer, who was received Wednesday by President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias was asked about the population censuses that are expected to take place in Cyprus in the framework of the UN led talks to reach a solution of the Cyprus problem.
Both sides had agreed that they would conduct censuses. I think I am right in saying that there is a census planned in Cyprus for the 1st of October. The Turkish Cypriots said they would conduct a census as well. We have said that the UN is happy to help with monitoring or any assistance we can provide in the conducting of all these censuses, he said.
Replying to questions, Downer expressed the view that if both sides do a census then it is important there is broad international acceptance of the credibility of the census. That obviously is important and the UN can help to do that in one way or another.
Asked whether the Turkish Cypriots have accepted the presence of UN at the census, he said that they said they are happy to work with the UN.
As to whether the Turkish Cypriot side would conduct a census, he said that they are going ahead with it as soon as they can but have not fixed any date yet but expressed the view that it would probably take place early next year or earlier than that.
Referring to his meeting with President Christofias he said they had the opportunity to review the Cyprus talks.
He recalled that Thursday evening the UN would host a working dinner between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, President Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu in the presences of their top aides and UNSGs Special Representative in Cyprus Liza Buttenheim.
It will be a working dinner. We had social dinners from time to time, this time it is a working dinner and we will focus on the way forward, he added.
 CHURCH OF CYPRUS - BYZANTINE ICONS RECOVEREDTwo Byzantine icons of the 18th century depicting Apostles Andreas and Iacovos, were located in Germany and recovered by the Church of Cyprus.
A statement by the Representation of the Church of Cyprus to the European Union said the two icons, which are the work of the School of Iconography of St. Heraklidio, were located in Dusseldorf last February.
Their origin, said the Church of Cyprus statement, is believed to be a monastery or church in the occupied areas of Cyprus, although reports indicate they come from the Monastery of Agios Anastasios in Peristeronopigi, Famagusta. They were taken out of Cyprus illegally and were up for sale in Europe, following the plundering and looting of Christian churches during the 1974 Turkish invasion. Thousands more icons remain unaccounted for, it is added.
 COMMERCE MINISTER TOURISM INVESTMENT PROJECTSMinister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Antonis Paschalides presented on Wednesday to future tourism professionals, the most important new investment projects of the Cyprus tourism industry.
Addressing the 5th Annual Student Conference for New Investment Projects of the Tourism Industry in Cyprus at the University of Nicosia, he said Cyprus is a well-known European tourist destination and to add to all the advantages of the destination, the Government is continually supporting and encouraging this sector. The Cyprus Tourism Organization, he added, has announced a co-funded Incentive Scheme for investments in the enrichment of the tourist product and modernization of the tourist enterprises. Paschalides also said the efforts of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation to further develop rural areas include the development of the Wine Routes in areas involved in wine making, the Cycling Routes and other cultural routes.
New football training fields have also been developed with the Organisations assistance in Limassol, said Paschalides, in order to cater for the increasing demand for foreign football teams training during the winter months. A new sports infrastructure project is currently being planned by the municipality of Larnaca, which will include training fields, tennis courts, archery range, etc. Furthermore, the construction of the new Olympic Shooting Range will be completed before the end of the year, a tennis centre is being developed in the Famagusta area and a new ski station is being planned by the Cyprus Ski Federation in Troodos.
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