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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-05-24

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias will pay an official visit to Australia from 25-30 May.

    Accompanied by First Lady Elsi Christofia, the Government Spokesman and government officials, President Christofias first stop will be Canberra early Wednesday where he will attend a working lunch with Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Governor General of Australia, Quentin Alice Louise Bryce.

    President Christofias will have a meeting with President of the Australian Senate John Hogg and the Speaker of the House of Representatives Harry Jenkins.

    The Cypriot President will visit the Australian War Memorial where he will lay a wreath and the National Museum. He will also visit the National Botanic Gardens in Canberra to take part in a tree planting ceremony.

    The following day, President Christofias and his entourage will meet the Australia Cyprus Parliamentary Group and the Greek Monument where he will lay a wreath.

    President Christofias will travel to Adelaide for a meeting with Mike Rann, South Australia`s Premier. He will also attend a lunch with Governor of South Australia Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce.

    During his stay in Adelaide, President Christofias will meet the Cypriot community of south Australia and will lay the foundation of the communitys new cultural centre.

    He will return to Melbourne for meetings with Ted Baillieu, Premier of Victoria and Minister for the Arts as well as Alex Chernov, Victoria`s Governor. The President will meet the Cypriot community of Melbourne and will give interviews to the local media.

    President Christofias will wrap up his official visit by traveling to Sydney for meetings New South Wales Governor Marie Bashir and his Eminence Archbishop Stylianos Harkianakis, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia, as well as members of the Cypriot community.


    Next months meeting between the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu is set to determine the way forward in the negotiating process regarding the Cyprus problem, according to diplomatic sources, quoted by the Athens News Agency.

    UN led talks have been underway between President Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader since 2008 in an effort to reunite the island which was divided after the Turkish invasion of 1974. According to a recent UN Secretariat announcement the new meeting on July 7, in Geneva, is set to follow the two previous meeting of November 18th 2010 and January 26th 2011.

    Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Nicholas Emiliou is currently in New York and is due to meet with Deputy Secretary General responsible for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe in view of the UN SGs report for the six monthly renewal of UNFICYP s mandate in the island. The report will be given to the Security Council on June 30th 2011.


    EU Defence Ministers discussed EU military operations, the situation in Libya and reviewed military capabilities during their meeting on Monday in Brussels. Cyprus was represented at the meeting by Defence Minister Costas Papacostas.

    EU Ministers discussed about ``Althea`` military operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Atalanta counter-piracy operation off the coasts of Somalia/Indian Ocean and «EUTM» training mission in Somalia. They also exchanged views on the situation in Libya and possible EU humanitarian operation in the region. Then, they reviewed European Military Capabilities to achieve the objectives of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and specifically they exchanged views on Pooling and Sharing initiative.

    In his intervention, Cypriot Defence Minister welcomed Pooling and Sharing of military Capabilities initiative stressing that it constitutes a solution to the economic problems of the Member States, while at the same is a tool for international cooperation. Papakostas noted that the active participation of the European Defence Agency (EDA) and the European External Action Service will help in developing the Capabilities of Member States and EU Capabilities in crisis management.


    The European Commission has recommended that member states should take action in order to mitigate the adverse effects on the ecosystem, caused by urban expansion and soil sealing. In a report, it is noted that Cyprus is amongst the three member states with the largest degree of soil sealing.

    According to the European Commission, every year in Europe, large areas of soil are lost to urban sprawl and transport infrastructure. Soil sealing causes an irreversible loss of the biological functions of soil. As water can neither infiltrate nor evaporate, water runoff increases, sometimes leading to catastrophic floods. Landscapes are fragmented and habitats become too small or too isolated to support certain species. In addition, the food production potential of land is lost forever.

    Soil is sealed when it is covered over with an impermeable material such as asphalt or concrete. Between 1990 and 2000, at least 275 hectares of soil were lost per day in the EU, amounting to 1,000 km˛ per year. Half of this soil is permanently sealed by impermeable layers of buildings, roads and parking lots.

    According to the report, this trend has been reduced to 252 hectare per day in recent years, but the rate of land consumption is still worrying. Between 2000 and 2006, the EU average increase in artificial areas was 3%, with increases attaining 14% in Ireland and Cyprus and 15% in Spain.

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