|Sunday, 17 February 2019|
Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 12-05-21
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 President Christofias meets with Austrian President in ViennaThe Cyprus issue, the crisis in the eurozone, European and international issues, as well as Cyprus' presidency of the EU Council of Ministers, were among the issues discussed between President of the Republic Demetris Christofias and his Austrian counterpart Heinz Fischer in Vienna.
President Christofias, who began Monday a two- day official visit to Austria, held a meeting in the morning with President of Austria Heinz Fischer. President Christofias is accompanied by first lady Elsi and his entourage.
The Cypriot President held a tete- a - tete meeting with the Austrian President, followed by extended talks with the participation of delegations from both countries.
Later on, a Protocol and Additional Protocol to the Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation between Cyprus and Austria was signed by Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou Markoullis and State Secretary at Federal Ministry of Finance Andreas Schieder.
According to official announcement, in his opening statement at the joint press conference which followed, President Christofias emphasized on the ``excellent level of bilateral relations" adding that both Presidents pointed out during their meeting that there is great potential to further enhance their bilateral ties.
During their meeting, the two Presidents discussed issues of international and European affairs.
"We expressed our political will to develop our constructive cooperation in all fora,`` President Christofias said.
He furthermore shared the view of the President of Austria regarding the elections in Serbia saying "the policy to promote the accession of Serbia to the EU shall continue".
As regards Turkey's EU accession course, President Christofias reiterated that Turkey must implement its obligations towards the European Union as well as those regarding the Republic of Cyprus, as an equal member of the Union.
Furthermore, he said that Ankara must demonstrate in practice its good will to solve the Cyprus problem on the basis of the UN resolutions and the principles and values of the EU.
"Unfortunately, the actions and behavior of Turkey, which launches threats (against Cyprus) is far from demonstrating a constructive spirit, ``he stressed.
President Christofias said he informed President Fischer about the developments in Cyprus and expressed his deep gratitude for the principled position of Austria to the Cyprus problem and for its long-term contribution to the peacekeeping UN force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).
Our vision, he said, is a reunited Cyprus, with ``warm, constructive and friendly relations with all our neighbors including Turkey, under the condition that Turkey demonstrates understanding and behaves as a modern European state``.
In his statements, the Austrian President said that the economic cooperation between the two states can be further enhanced and noted that Tuesday an Economic Forum will take place in Vienna with businesspeople from both countries.
He added that the Cypriot President informed him about Cyprus' preparations ahead of the assumption of the EU presidency this July. They also discussed about developments in the Western Balkans, and Fischer said that their future belongs to the EU and the process must continue.
On the elections in Serbia, President Fischer said that ``each country must decide for itself. But I hope the road will be one approaching Europe. ``
He said they also discussed developments in Cyprus and noted that it seems that `` there is not much ground for optimism in the near future.``
During their meeting they also discussed the EU economic crisis.
According to President Fischer, ``Cyprus has good prospects after the discovery of natural gas resources. Of course it would be a positive development if we could have energy coming from an EU country. This would be good for both the EU and Cyprus, but also for Turkey".
Asked if European economies will be able to withstand a possible exit of Greece from the eurozone, President Fisher said that "first we should wait for the elections in Greece and the decision of the government that will be formed".
But he stressed that ``the goal and desire is to solve problems and preserve the Eurozone intact".
Referring on the same subject, President Christofias said ``I would not dare to think that the result would be Greece's exit from the eurozone, because you can imagine its impact on Cyprus, its economy and the people of Cyprus, set aside the Greek people".
Asked if the impact of the crisis in Greece will lead Cyprus to the EU Support Mechanism or whether Cyprus could avoid entering the Mechanism, President Christofias said that Cyprus' real economy is not so closely tied to the Greek economy and added that the exchanges between Greece and Cyprus reach only 1% of the national income of Cyprus.
"What creates a huge problem is the exposure of the Cypriot banks to Greek bonds and the financial system in Greece", he said, noting that this has nothing to do with the policies of his government, but rather with the banks` policies.
He added that "currently we need 1 billion 800 million euro to support a bank that is in danger of bankruptcy. A major problem is where to find that amount of money. We do actions in an effort to avoid entering the Support Mechanism".
President Christofias pointed out that a country could either enter the Support Mechanism like Greece did, "which will not be the case with Cyprus", or by borrowing money from the Support Mechanism to support a bank.
"We discuss about it and very soon we should take our final decisions``, he noted.
Meanwhile speaking during an official lunch he hosted for Christofias, Fischer expressed the conviction that President Christofias will never abandon his goal to find a settlement of the Cyprus problem, even if this goal seems to be unattainable for the time being.
On his part Christofias, assured that ``we remain fully committed and engaged in the process of talks under UN auspices and the pursuit of a bizonal, bicommunal federation with a single sovereignty, a single citizenship and a single international personality, with political equality as this is defined by UN resolutions.``
``The difficulties and obstacles we are facing do not sidetrack us. Our vision is and will remain a peaceful and united Cyprus, the common homeland of all its lawful inhabitants,`` Christofias said according to an official press release, noting that ``unfortunately, the process of the talks under the auspices of the UN Secretary General is not progressing well.``
``We are particularly concerned by the by now obvious delaying tactics, which the Turkish side is using. This obstruction, combined with threats by Turkey against the Cyprus Presidency of the EU Council and also against the sovereignty of the Republic in our Exclusive Economic Zone, are an anachronism that cannot be accepted,`` he noted.
Christofias said that ``our talks today confirmed the high level of our bilateral relations, our close ties, as well as many common points of reference between us. They stressed our common desire to expand our cooperation in all areas. I am convinced that this visit will be a springboard to the further strengthening of our cooperation at the bilateral level, within the European Union but also within international organizations.``
``The level of our relations at the political level is excellent. I believe, however, that there is room for even further development of our economic and trade relations. The opportunities for cooperation in these areas are many and they should be utilized,`` he noted.
He added that ``Austria has always supported our efforts to find a just and lasting Cyprus settlement. We are very grateful for the long standing contribution and participation of your country in the United Nations Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus.``
Referring to the global financial crisis, he said that ``these are to some extent grounded in economics, but they are certainly not limited to that. In my view the deep crisis affecting the Eurozone has political parameters as well. The crisis revealed the serious problems caused for the society and the people as a result of the implementation of policies based on the absolute and inelastic fiscal discipline, on the frantic applause of the market freedom and competition,`` he noted.
Christofias said ``the lack of control has led to abuse on behalf of the so-called markets. The austerity policies exacerbate the problems instead of solving them. The social state is being dismantled and development comes to a halt. The way the wealth produced today is distributed leads large groups of the population to poverty and social degradation. The social policies currently applied need to the revised.``
He noted that ``a more fair distribution of the income produced, a consistent and more anthropocentric social policy will lead to more employment and to the necessary social cohesion. The economy and development should serve the society.``
``We are all looking forward to better days. It is this expectation that we have tried to express through the slogan `Towards a better Europe`, which we attach to the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the European Union,`` he added.
On his part, the Austrian President referred to Christofias` efforts for a Cyprus settlement and expressed the belief that the President of Cyprus will never abandon his goal for a settlement, even though this goal seems attainable for the time being.
He noted that Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, is the last divided capital in Europe, and noted despite the fact that President Christofias has devoted much time during the last years to find a settlement, the Cyprus problem remains unsolved.
Referring to the assumption by Cyprus of the Presidency of the Council of the EU on July 1st, 2012, Fischer said that ``for six months the eyes of Europe will be on Cyprus and this will promote Cyprus` profile.``
He said that after the elections in France and Greek, Europe must focus on its future course, stability, growth the creation of new jobs and the planning of its budget.
Fischer also referred to the long-standing bilateral relations between Cyprus and Austria and to this friendship with Christofias since they both served as House Presidents in their countries.
 Government dismisses reports claiming deployment of Israeli soldiers in CyprusThe Cyprus government has dismissed news reports published by Anadolu news agency, claiming that Cyprus and Israel have concluded an agreement providing for the deployment of thousands of Israeli soldiers in Cyprus.
Deputy Government Spokesman Christos Christofides said these were "fiction" reports, noting that Ankara is pursuing through these groundless leaks to justify its intransigence at the negotiations, is trying to undermine the talks and to focus on the so called "B plans" as well as to create further tension in view of the fact that the Republic of Cyprus will undertake the Presidency of the European Union during the second half of 2012.
He added that the government will not follow Turkey in its effort to culminate the effort to create a climate of tension and underlined that Turkey remains exposed internationally.
Asked if there was any discussion between the government and Israel about the possibility of deploying Israeli soldiers in Cyprus, Christofides recalled that Defence Minister Demetris Eliades had signed an agreement during his visit to Israel, adding that "no discussions on further military cooperation took place" adding that leakages aim primarily to justify Turkey's actions on the Cyprus problem and enhance efforts to create tension.
 Symposium on World Wars to take place in NicosiaThe two World Wars will be the subject of a symposium organized by the House of Representatives on Wednesday, with the participation of veterans, survivors and academics from Cyprus and Greece.
Entitled "World War I – World War II. 10 years of horror, 81 million lives perished", the symposium comes a few days after the 67th anniversary of the Allied Victory against Fascism and Nazism.
A press release by the House of Representatives notes that the subject becomes contemporary, "since the revival of Nazism is hovering nowadays as a wraith over Europe". Within this context, it adds, "the turn towards the painful past of the recent 20th century history that is marred by the agony of the two World Wars and the demise of millions of people through dreadful means, probably provides the safest path for resistance to any form of racism, bigotry, and nationalism, which are thriving especially during economic crises, as the one that takes place these days".
The meeting will be prefaced by the President of the House of Representatives Yiannakis Omirou and the president of the Cyprus Veterans' Association World War II Loizos Demetriou.
 Labour Minister briefs Swedish counterpart on EU PresidencyMinister of Labour and Social Insurance Soteroula Charalambous on Monday briefed the Swedish Employment Minister Hillevi Engstrom on the priorities of the Cyprus' EU Presidency to begin July 1st.
In statements to the press following the talks, Charalambous said that they particularly focused on some of the EU dossiers of the so-called inherited agenda and especially the working conditions of posted workers and the EU directive on the protection of pregnant employees.
She said that both sides have expressed their readiness to cooperate during the Cypriot presidency.
The Cypriot Minister also said that she briefed her counterpart on the situation in the labour market in Cyprus and the Swedish Minister showed particular interest in the measure the Cyprus government is taking to tackle youth unemployment.
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