|Thursday, 5 December 2019|
Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 96-11-07
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
 Turkish side closes crossing point to Greek CypriotsThe illegal Turkish Cypriot regime in the occupied part of Cyprus has unilaterally closed the Ledra Palace check-point, the only crossing point between the government-controlled area and the Turkish-occupied 37% of the island.
The closure has cut the only link some 500 enclaved Greek Cypriots and around 200 Maronites have with their relatives in the free areas.
Two Greek Cypriot families who had come to the free areas were not allowed to return to their homes in Rizokarpasso on Wednesday (6.11.96).
The move by the Turkish regime came following threats that they would close the crossing point in retaliation to a series of protests by Greek Cypriot groups who have been gathering near the Ledra Palace checkpoint over the past three weekends, distributing leaflets to foreign tourists in an attempt to discourage them from visiting the occupied part of Cyprus.
Responding to the closure of the checkpoint, Government Spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides said such behaviour was "totally unjustified and a serious violation of the human rights of enclaved Cypriots".
"This is a very serious matter and we are going to react very strongly to this", he added.
Cassoulides said protests are being made to the UN and that the government would also consider contacting the European Parliament and human rights bodies. However, he pointed out that the government does not encourage the type of protest Greek Cypriots are staging at the Ledra Palace check-point, near the UN buffer zone, and will attempt again to persuade them to change their manner of protesting.
Unficyp complained to the government over the protest campaign earlier this week, fearing yesterday's action by the Turkish Cypriot side.
 Cyprus economy in good stateFinance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou expressed satisfaction at the state of the economy for the current year, and said that macroeconomic indices are expected to reach levels which will safeguard the continuation of internal economic stability with a growth rate of about 2,5%, a figure considered satisfactory in relation to corresponding European figures.
The Minister, who was addressing a meeting of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Nicosia yesterday, also said that for 1996 the public debt and public deficit will continue to be within the Maastricht criteria.
Referring to prospects for 1997, Mr Christodoulou expressed cautious optimism, provided no adverse and unforeseen developments arise. Our target, he said, is to maintain our economy in a good state as it is a determining factor for our accession to the European Union, to strengthen our defence capabilities and continue improving the standard of living.
The Finance Minister stressed that long-standing problems of the local economy must be tackled if Cyprus wants to continue its upward trend, in view of the intense international competition.
Mr Christodoulou advised Cypriot businessmen to improve the quality of their products and services, increase productivity and reduce costs to help maintain sound economic foundations. He also called on them to expand their activities and take advantage of the opportunities offered in new economic regions, especially the Middle East, the Balkans and the former Soviet republics.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/