|Thursday, 22 March 2018|
Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 12-01-24
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 Downer says talks at Greentree are intenseThe UN Secretary General`s Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer has described talks at Greentree, New York, between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus and the UN Secretary General, as intensive.
Speaking to the press, after Monday`s joint meetings, Downer said the talks focused on three of the core issues in negotiations for a Cyprus settlement, namely ``the executive, property, and citizenship.``
``The Secretary General has spent around six hours with the leaders, including breakfast and through to the end of a working lunch, and I think the best way to describe the talks today is that they have been intensive right from the very beginning. After breakfast through to now this has been a very intensive day, with a very heavy focus on the three core issues and we obviously will be convening again tomorrow to continue with those discussions,`` he said.
Regarding Tuesday`s schedule, Downer said the Secretary General will return for a working lunch and then he will conduct meetings throughout the afternoon. ``So tomorrow he will spend another six hours or so with the leaders and their teams, and in the evening he will be taking the two leaders and their spouses to Manhattan for a social dinner,`` he said.
After the Secretary General left on Monday, UN Undersecretary General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe and Downer had further discussions with the leaders and their teams, again focusing on the core issues.
``There is clearly still ground to cover in order to make for a successful outcome for this meeting and we look forward to a constructive day tomorrow,`` Downer said.
Downer noted that ``the Secretary General made his expectations clear this morning that he is looking for the leaders to make decisive moves,`` and ``he also reminded the two leaders that they must keep the big vision of a United Cyprus in their sights.`` Replying to questions by Turkish reporters concerning alleged leaks from the Greek Cypriot side, Downer said ``what we really want here in these two days of negotiation is to focus on the core issues where there has not been convergence and every effort has to be put into that.``
He added that ``the leaders cannot be distracted by the media`` and that ``the leaders and their teams have got to focus on these core issues to get the right outcomes on these issues, and so that is what we are encouraging them to do, and to not get into commentary on the media.``
Downer dismissed remarks that there was no change in the positions on the issues under discussion.
``I think its wrong to say there is no change. Obviously, positions are explored and thought about and views exchanged. There has been an enormous amount of discussion. As I said, I think the word that is the best takeout of the day is `intense`,`` he said.
He added that ``there has been intense discussion on these issues and we hope as we move to tomorrow that the discussion of today will help create the foundation for convergences,`` noting that ``lots of different ideas have been canvassed backwards and forwards.``
Asked if the UN prerequisites had been met and how this had affected the outcome of the Greentree meeting, Downer said ``data is being provided and that has been important.``
``That goes back to the time of the Secretary Generals letter to the two leaders from the 6th of January and since the two leaders received the letters there has been the beginnings of an exchange of data and more data is being exchanged as we go through these two days. With the outlines, we have obviously seen them, we have had discussions with the two sides about the outlines, we have done this in Nicosia and so I do not think there has been any problem with any of this,`` he said.
He added that ``there is obviously a debate about how quickly the data has been provided, should it have been provided more quickly and earlier or should it not and with preconditions met, and so on.``
``You can have a debate about history but we do not live in history, we live in the present and in the context of the present the data is being provided and that is obviously a significant part of the process,`` he said.
Asked about a possible international conference after the Greentree meeting, Downer said ``there are three core issues at stake here in these discussions at Greentree`` that that there have been ``intense discussions about all three of these issues and there will continue to be discussions tomorrow.``
``Obviously in an ideal world we would like to see convergences on all those issues and be able to move the whole process forward culminating in an international conference. But to tell you the truth, we will just have to see how we get on tomorrow before any judgments can be made by both the two sides and the Secretary General, and all three of them working together on the way forward from here,`` he added.
To questions regarding Cyprus` EU Presidency in the second half of 2012, Downer said he believed it was ``very important that the two leaders do make substantial progress`` and that the EU Presidency ``will be a major responsibility.``
``I know the whole of the EU, that is 26 other countries including some very big countries, will be looking to the Greek Cypriots, as we say in the context of these negotiations, to carry forward the presidency of the EU. That will be a very heavy responsibility. We need to try to aim to get this job done before then,`` he added.
Asked why territory was absent from the agenda when it has been the UN position that some issues such as property and territory must be integrally discussed, Downer said that ``the point about property and territory is that when these issues, if you like, of property are discussed there is always discussion about territory.``
``The Turkish Cypriot sides position is that, in fact both sides have agreed to this, that the final question of maps and figures that is very specifically defining the territorial boundary between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot federated units or constituent states, will be decided in the period immediately in the lead-up to an international conference,`` he added.
Downer noted that ``there are discussions about property and territory and the relationship between them.``
Asked if he felt more optimistic or pessimistic, Downer said ``the last meeting has come and gone so I know one hundred percent about it,`` adding that ``this one is only halfway done in terms of time, so there will be a lot of energy put into the next 24 hours.``
``I am not in the business of forecasting. Obviously, what we do at the UN is urge the leaders to make agreements. We cannot do it for them and it is very important that people understand this. We cannot want this agreement more than the two sides of this debate in Cyprus want it,`` he pointed out.
Downer said that ``ultimately this is a matter for them`` and that ``they have said throughout this process, since it began, that they wanted it to be Cypriot-owned and Cypriot-led.``
``We are not here therefore to own and to lead it, we are here to help. The success or failure of this process rests on the shoulders of the Cypriot leaders themselves. The longer this issue drags on the harder it is to solve,`` he added.
 Things not moving forward at GreentreeA Greek Cypriot source has said that during the first day of talks on the Cyprus problem, which are underway at Greentree, efforts were made to discuss core issues but things are not moving forward.
The Greek Cypriot sides assessment about the UN stance is that the UN has not decided yet what to do from now on.
As soon as the UN Secretary General left Greentree, after lunch, two separate meetings of the UN chief`s representatives with the two delegations took place, according to the same source.
Ideas conveyed by the UN officials from the one side to the other are described as limited. There was no new proposal of the Turkish Cypriot side on the issue of government which was closed by Cypriot President Demetris Christofias and former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and was reopened by current Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu.
 EU congratulates Cyprus on measuresEuropean Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn and President of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi have congratulated Cyprus on the tough decisions and the austerity measures it has adopted to achieve fiscal consolidation. Speaking to CNA on the sidelines of the Euro-zone Finance Ministers meeting, Cyprus Finance Minister Kikis Kazamias said Rehn congratulated Cyprus on adopting tough decisions that would allow the country to overcome the difficult situation it was facing. Draghi agreed with that position, Kazamias said.
In a short period of time and in a decisive manner, Cyprus has adopted measures that are considered very satisfactory to help reduce the budget deficit, the European Commissioner said, according to Kazamias. During the meeting of the Euro-zone Ministers, the representatives of the countries that have implemented the Commissions recommendation were invited to make an intervention. This included Cyprus too.
The Minister recalled that based on the difficult situation Cyprus was facing, the European Commission sent a letter on November 11 warning Nicosia with sanctions. Kazamias, as he stated to CNA, thanked the Commission for the letter of November 11, noting that it was catalytic in creating political consensus that formed the basis upon which the government founded its arguments for the proposal on the austerity measures.
The Minister also told CNA that during the meeting he referred to the measures that allowed Cyprus to decrease the budgetary deficit by 3,5% in 2012, compared to 2011.
 Ship management revenues increaseShip management revenues increased marginally to 4,9% of Cyprus GDP, during the first half of 2011 despite the economic crisis.
According to Ship Management Survey, released by the Central Bank of Cyprus, the majority of revenues came from Germany (57%). There were also significant contributions from Switzerland (11%) and Latvia (7%).
These figures do not represent the countries of the beneficial ship owners whose ships are managed by companies based in Cyprus. They merely represent the countries from where the payments were transferred to Cyprus.
Most companies in the sector generate revenues within the range of 1 million - 10 million euro, but there are a few very large companies with revenues exceeding 27 million half-yearly. As a result, the sector is relatively concentrated with 24% of the companies generating 83% of the sectors total revenues.
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