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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 12-03-12

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] UNSG: The time for an agreement is now
  • [02] Formal charges filed in connection with Mari case
  • [03] House President to visit Greece
  • [04] EU grants 292 million euro to Turkish Cypriots during last six years

  • [01] UNSG: The time for an agreement is now

    Cyprus leaders must now make decisive moves that will demonstrate that agreement is indeed within their grasp, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-mïon said in his assessment report on the status of the negotiations in Cyprus for the information of the members of the Security Council, stressing that “the time for an agreement is now.” The report was handed over unofficially on Monday to UN Security Council members and will be issued as an official document during the next days.

    Ban noted that the two leaders, President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, “must focus their efforts on resolving the outstanding challenges. In particular, they must find a way to move beyond the existing deadlock on the election of the executive and advance more definitively on property and citizenship.”

    “On property, while I understand that some aspects cannot be completely finalized until decisions are made on maps and figures relating to territory, it should be possible for both sides to agree now on a common understanding on property that is simple and clear, and contingent upon those decisions. I note with satisfaction that the sides have embarked on the exchange of data on property foreseen in my statement following the second meeting at Greentree,” he added.

    “The time for an agreement is now,” he stressed, adding that “the domestic, regional and international context is constantly shifting. The current window of opportunity is not limitless and there is little to suggest that the future will bring more propitious circumstances for a settlement. The United Nations remains convinced that if the necessary political will could be mustered on both sides, a durable settlement could be achieved in the interests of all Cypriots”, Ban said expressing full confidence in the efforts of his Special Adviser Alexander Downer, and his team to support such an outcome.

    A diplomatic source has described the report as “technocratic”, noting that the Secretary General keeps the door of the process open and continues to remind the leaders that the time for an agreement is now.

    Referring to the status of the process of the ongoing direct negotiations, which began in September 2008, the UN Secretary General referred to developments as regards the meetings held between the leaders in Cyprus and between their representatives, as well as the meetings he had himself with the leaders.

    He noted that at present, regarding the core issues, an impasse remains on the election of the executive. “On citizenship, the sides have accepted an approach whereby an agreed number of persons from both sides would become citizens of a united Cyprus with the entry into force of a comprehensive agreement. On the issue of property, negotiations have arrived at the stage where the sides are exchanging data, which should assist them in reaching a common understanding based on their separate proposals,” he said.

    He noted that “it is clear to both sides that full agreement on property will ultimately depend on the resolution of the question of territorial adjustment. The two sides have agreed that maps and figures will only be discussed in the period leading up to the multilateral conference.”

    Ban said that “another crucial issue that is still unresolved is precisely how a settlement would be incorporated into European Union law. Both sides have put forward proposals, which attempt to address some of the concerns of the other side. However, neither side to date has found the other’s proposals to be satisfactory.”

    “On the chapter of security and guarantees, internal aspects have largely been agreed. The external aspects of security can only be resolved in discussions with the guarantor powers, as signatories to the Treaties of Guarantee and Alliance,” he said.

    Furthermore, he noted that “in this Cypriot-owned and Cypriot-led process, it is for the leaders to take the negotiations to a successful conclusion. Accordingly, I have reassured the leaders that the United Nations does not seek to impose solutions. At the same time, I have repeatedly expressed my point of view that the negotiations should not be open ended, as the longer the talks have been drawn out, the more disillusioned the public has become and the harder it has become to conclude agreements,” he stressed.

    He added that “at this advanced stage of the negotiations, it is important to recall that, since the start of the process, a significant number of convergences have been reached across various key chapters of the negotiations. As a Cypriot-led process, these achievements are entirely Cypriot-owned.”

    He noted that at the moment, however, on the core issues that remain to be agreed, the negotiations are close to deadlock. “Despite the leaders’ repeated commitments to intensify the negotiations and push for a conclusion as soon as possible, the fact that there has been such limited movement towards convergence on core issues in recent months is a matter of concern,” Ban said.

    As he noted, “there is no doubt that the political environment in which the negotiations are currently taking place has become increasingly difficult. Nonetheless, it is incumbent upon the leaders to foster a more conducive atmosphere for the talks, by refraining from engaging in negative rhetoric about each other and the process and by preserving the confidentiality of the talks. In addition to preserving the integrity of the process, decisive action in this regard would also contribute to building public confidence in its viability which, at present, is low.”

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.

    [02] Formal charges filed in connection with Mari case

    Formal charges were filed Monday before Larnaka District Court against eight people, including two former Ministers, in connection with last July’s deadly explosion, at a naval base in Cyprus, which killed 13 persons.

    Two former Ministers, three top army officers and three senior firemen are facing charges including manslaughter, causing death through negligence, neglect of duty and acting in a way that caused bodily harm.

    The defendants are: Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Markos Kyprianou, former Defence Minister Costas Papacostas, former National Guard commander Petros Tsalikidis, former NG deputy chief Savvas Argyrou, Colonel Georgios Georgiades - deputy commander of the third support brigade and former commander of the ordnance corps, fire service chief Andreas Nicolaou, deputy chief Charalambos Charalambous, and Andreas Loizides, the commander of the disaster response squad EMAK.

    [03] House President to visit Greece

    House President Yiannakis Omirou is visiting Greece Tuesday afternoon where he is expected to meet the Greek Premier and other high officials.

    According to an official announcement, Omirou will hold contacts with the Prime Minister of Greece Loukas Papademos, the Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament Filippos Petsalnikos and Foreign Minister Stavros Demas.

    House President will first visit the Hellenic National Defence College in Athens where he will address the students.

    Later on, he will travel to Larissa, where he will deliver a speech on the Cyprus problem at an event organized by the Cypriot Association of Larissa and the authorities of the region.

    [04] EU grants 292 million euro to Turkish Cypriots during last six years

    The EU aid programme for the Turkish Cypriot community turns six today, and as the European Commission has noted it has brought tangible benefits to the Turkish Cypriots and has been a catalyst in bringing the Turkish Cypriot community closer to the EU.

    According to a European Commission press release, ``since 2006, the EU aid programme for Turkish Cypriot community totalled 292 million euro. The programme is implemented by the European Commission, either directly, or in cooperation with international organisations. The Council Regulation establishing an instrument of financial support for encouraging the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community (no. 389/2006) entered into force on 10 March 2006.``

    The programme aims at facilitating the reunification of Cyprus by encouraging the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community. It focuses in particular on the economic integration of the island, on improving contacts between the two communities and with the EU, and on preparations for the transition to the EU`s legal order.


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