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

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>


CONTENTS

  • [01] DOWNER - TALKS
  • [02] SPOKESMAN TURKEY
  • [03] FULE TURKISH THREATS
  • [04] MARI BLAST PUBLIC HEARING

  • [01] DOWNER - TALKS

    President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu completed Thursday the discussion of the property issue at the current phase of the intensified UN-led direct talks to solve the Cyprus problem.

    Speaking after the meeting UN Secretary General`s Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer, said that they had a pretty long meeting focusing on exclusively the issue of property and working on the task of building core convergences on a series of issues in the property chapter.

    He added that the leaders will move on, on Monday, to discuss the question of citizenship, immigration and aliens, and they will also discuss that issue on Wednesday. There will then be a further meeting on Friday, where they will be discussing the issue of the economy.

    Asked about the reason President Christofias stayed a little bit longer with him after the meeting, Downer said that he wanted to have a talk with the President separately about another matter.

    Asked whether there were some convergences in the meeting today, he said he will have much more to say about how this process has gone when they get to the end of the process.

    We are not going into details of it as we work it through, he said adding that the UN are trying to be as discreet as possibly.

    Asked about his yesterday briefing to the UN Security Council members on the latest developments in the Cyprus issue, through a teleconference, Downer pointed out that he spent an hour and a half, with the Security Council giving them a briefing on how this intensive phase of the negotiations was going.

    I made it very clear to the Security Council that, I make no predictions about what will happen, but an agreement on reunifying Cyprus is possible, it is certainly within the grasp of the Leaders. But to achieve it requires a lot of courage and a lot of determination, but it is possible, he said.

    The Australian diplomat said that there was great interest, in the Cyprus issue by the Security Council and that all 15 members of the Security Council spoke, some of them asking questions, some of them very well informed.

    I have to say, coming out of it they are very supportive of this process, he said adding that members of the SC are anxious that the two Leaders succeed in these negotiations.

    He added that people shouldnt underestimate the importance of the strong support of the Security Council for the successful conclusions of these negotiations, given that there are other important issues as the issue of Libya.

    Asked whether members of the SC raised the issue of natural gas, Downer said that quite a few raised questions in relation to natural gas, saying that that was a private meeting so he didn`t go on what they said.

    Asked whether member of the SC linked Cyprus issue with the issue of natural gas, Downer said that this was a briefing by me to the Security Council on Cyprus, and during the course of this briefing the issue of natural gas was discussed.

    Cyprus, divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupies it northern third, has granted Huston-based Noble Energy a concession for natural gas exploration in Block 12 of EEZ, which borders with Israel`s Leviathan``. Noble is expected to proceed with test drilling in Block 12 by the end of September. Cyprus has signed bilateral agreements for the delineation of the EEZ with Egypt, Lebanon and Israel.

    Turkey, who does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus and disputes its right for hydro carbon exploration, has warned it would not hesitate to deploy warships in the Mediterranean, if Cyprus proceeds with the exploration efforts.

    [02] SPOKESMAN TURKEY

    Cyprus operates in the framework of international law concerning natural gas exploration, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said on Thursday, adding that Turkey opts for tension.

    Commenting on the continued Turkish threats concerning Cyprus` intention to promote natural gas exploration in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Stephanou echoed the Cypriot Defense Minister`s earlier remarks at CNA that Cyprus operates within the international law.

    ``We operate in the framework of the international law and within that framework, especially of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, we act towards the implementation of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus,`` he said.

    [03] FULE TURKISH THREATS

    EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule has expressed, through his representative, the Commissions regret for the Turkish threats against the Republic of Cyprus, noting that these are opposing the EU Councils decision of 2010 that calls on Turkey to maintain good neighbourly relations.

    Fule notes that in line with Council conclusions, most recently of December 2010, the EU urges Turkey to refrain from any kind of threat, sources of friction or action, which could negatively affect good neighbourly relations and the peaceful settlement of border disputes.

    The Commission regrets any statements that are not conducive to this objective. It regularly reiterates these issues in its discussions with Turkey and will continue to monitor Turkey`s commitments to good neighbourly relations in the light of the principle of peaceful settlement of disputes, the Commissioner adds. Moreover, the Council of Ministers has repeatedly underlined the importance of progress in the normalisation of relations between Turkey and all EU Member States, including the Republic of Cyprus. Furthermore, the EU has stressed all the sovereign rights of EU Member States which include entering into bilateral agreements, in accordance with the EU Acquis and international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

    The Commission would like to underline, once again, the urgent need to reach a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue. Ahead of the crucial phase of Cyprus talks this autumn, it is essential that all parties concerned exert restrain and do their utmost to ensure a positive climate that will facilitate a successful completion of the process, Fule concludes.

    [04] MARI BLAST PUBLIC HEARING

    Public hearings concerning the deadly blast at the Evangelos Florakis naval base, near Limassol, continued on Thursday, with key officials testifying before the commission of inquiry.

    Following the blast, on July 11, the government appointed a commission of inquiry, headed by lawyer Polis Polyviou, to investigate the circumstances that led to the massive explosion of munitions, which killed 13 people and destroyed the islands main power station. The commission will also look into possible political responsibilities.

    Head of the Cyprus Presidents Diplomatic Office Leonidas Pandelides and Secretary of the Presidents Diplomatic Office Iacovos Georgiou appeared before the commission on Thursday. Pandelides said that from September 6th 2010 when he submitted to President Christofias an internal memorandum about a meeting which took place at the Presidential Palace with the participation of Colonel Andreas Stavrou and Lieutenant Andreas Gennaris until the blast occurred he did not have any further communication regarding the containers with the Cyprus President.

    He further added that he did not notify President Christofias about what happened at the meeting of February 7th 2011 because no decision was taken during the meeting. According to Pandelides the Ministers of Defence Costas Papacostas and External Affairs Marcos Kyprianou where in disagreement.


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