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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-09-08

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The Minister of Defence Demetris Eliades has condemned recent statements by Turkish Premier Tayip Erdogan against Cyprus right to explore hydrocarbon reserves located in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

    Turkey with its overt threats against Cyprus is exposed in the eyes of the international community, Eliades told CNA, noting also that Cyprus stance is based on international law and on its sovereign right to explore and exploit its natural gas resources, located in its EEZ.

    Referring to Erdogans statements, the Defence Minister noted that Turkey has lately intensified its rhetoric to a point of leveling direct threats at various directions, including Cyprus.

    Eliades said the government is monitoring, carefully and calmly, all these developments, always in close cooperation and coordination with Greece and takes all appropriate action.

    The Defence Minister also said that if Turkey wishes to join the European Union, it has to comply with European and international law and order.

    Houston-based Noble Energy is expected to begin drilling in late September. The company has a concession to look for hydrocarbons in an offshore field in Cyprus` EEZ, south-east of Cyprus, known as Block 12.

    Recently senior Turkish government officials have warned that Ankara will not hesitate to deploy warships in the Mediterranean, if the Republic of Cyprus enters Turkish territorial waters during the oil exploration efforts in the Mediterranean.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Turkey does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus and has said it will not talk to Nicosia, when it will assume the rotating six monthly EU presidency in the second half of 2012.


    The UN Secretary General`s Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer has painted a positive picture on the course of talks to solve the Cyprus problem, during a briefing of the UN Security Council members on the latest developments, through a teleconference. According to Security Council sources, Downer`s briefing was ``sincere`` and covered issues that included the latest report by the UN Secretary General on his good offices mission and all that has been said during the meetings of the leaders of the two communities. He also answered questions.

    The same sources said Downer pointed out that the July meeting in Geneva between the UN chief and the leaders of the two communities was fruitful, since the talks have been intensified, and praised the commitment of the leaders and their engagement to the ``tough aspects`` of the problem.

    However, he noted that time was an issue, since the leaders of the two communities had an option, either to solve the problem now or miss what may be the best chance to do so.

    Downer said that the UN chief will summon the leaders of the two communities in late October and hopes that convergences will have been achieved by then.

    After that, the UN Secretary General and his associates will evaluate the situation and decide on the next steps.


    President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu meet on Thursday, in the context of UN-led direct talks to solve the Cyprus problem. The meeting will take place at the residence of the UN Secretary General`s Special Representative in Cyprus Liza Buttenheim, in the UN-protected area in Nicosia.

    During their last meeting on Tuesday, the UN Secretary General`s Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer said that the community leaders brought along a series of proposals on property issue.

    I think some convergences can be built actually, I think thats possible, Downer said, adding that the meeting was held in a good atmosphere, underlying that this is an example of both sides continuing to work hard to try to build convergences.

    President Christofias and Eroglu are due to have a third meeting with the UN Secretary General in late October, in New York. In their previous meeting, in July, they agreed to intensify the pace of the talks.


    The Ministry of Finance has issued a press release, in which it is clarified that Cyprus has not asked the intervention of the European Central Bank (ECB) in the secondary market, adding that this issue is just one of the approaches included in the open discussions held with the Central Bank of Cyprus. The clarification came in response to a Reuters report, filed Wednesday suggesting that the government is considering with the Central Bank of Cyprus the possibility of asking the European Central Bank to buyback government bonds held by Cypriot banks.

    In the statement, it is clarified that Minister Kikis Kazamias never associated the issue with the bonds held by local banks in the domestic market of Cyprus. The Minister of Finance has by no means stated that Cyprus will ask the ECB to intervene in the secondary market. He stated that different approaches, one of which is the above, are being considered in an open agenda during his meetings with the Governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus, the press release states.

    It is also made clear that the above mentioned issue of ECB intervention in the bond market was never associated by the Minister with the banking system. As it is known, the ECB intervention in the bond market is intended to restrain the yield of bonds, the press release says, adding that the Minister never associated the issue with the bonds held by local banks in the domestic market of Cyprus.

    The Ministry of Finance once more stresses its commitment to normalise conditions in the government bond market through the consolidation of public finances and the stabilization of the index of credit worthiness assessment by the international credit rating agencies. ``Only then it is feasible to adopt any additional measures to improve the market conditions, it is noted.

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