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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 02-09-19
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Thursday, 19 September 2002
 Cypriot FM press briefing in New YorkThe Cypriot Foreign Minister, Mr. Ioannis Kasoulides, gave a press conference for Greek correspondents in New York on Monday, where he outlined his activities during his visit there.
In relation to the Cyprus problem and the UN-led peace talks between President Clerides and the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, Mr. Kasoulides noted that Mr. Denktash does not follow the UN Secretary- General's recommendations and that the document he submitted recently reflects a hardening of the Turkish side's stance on issues of substance.
With regard to the UN Secretary-General's role at the coming meeting in New York on 3 October, the Cypriot Minister stated the following:
"The Secretary-General intends to personally intervene and discuss issues of substance. It is important to use this period until 3 November, when the general elections in Turkey will take place, to assess whether the ground is being sufficiently prepared and whether there is an intention and willingness by the Turkish side to seriously discuss a comprehensive solution plan, which the Secretary-General would like to submit immediately after the elections in Turkey. The existing window of opportunity is narrowing, and the period between November and 12 December is very short. Our position is that the Secretary-General is entitled, based on the UN Security Council mandate, to submit comprehensive ideas for the solution of the Cyprus problem."
Mr. Kasoulides also made reference to Cyprus' EU accession course, expressing his certainty that, in the European Commission's progress report to be issued in early October, Cyprus would be among the list of ten candidate countries deemed ready to conclude the negotiations and become EU members.
 2003 State Budget approvedThe Council of Ministers approved, at their meeting yesterday, the State Budget for 2003, which foresees for 3.068,7 million Cyprus pounds in expenditure and 2.389,4 million pounds in revenue.
According to a press release issued by the Ministry of Finance, the rate of growth, in 2002, will range between 2.5% - 3% thus continuing the satisfactory economic growth of the four previous years. Despite the fact that in 2002 the Cyprus economy faced and is still facing a negative economic climate due to the 11 September events, it has registered a rate of growth which compares favourably with that of EU member states, where the rate of growth is expected to reach 1.5% in 2002 compared to 1.7 % in 2001.
The inflation rate will range at around 3% for the whole of 2002, something which is mainly attributed to an increase in the Value Added Tax from 10% to 13 % and an increase in the price of petrol. Unemployment will record a slight increase and is expected to reach 3.3% of the economically active population compared to 3% in 2001.
Based on the Budget, the total public deficit is expected to increase by 453, 1 million pounds and reach 6362, 2 million pounds or 93, 7 % of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) compared to 5909, 1 million or 94, 9 % of the GDP expected by the end of 2002.
The fiscal deficit will be restricted to 1, 9% of the GDP, compared to 2 6% in 2002. This significant decrease falls within the framework of the Pre- accession Economic Programme of the Government.
Expenditure for development projects in 2003 will reach 375, 1 million pounds compared to the reviewed expenditure of 247, 7 million pounds in 2002.
50,6 million pounds will go towards improvements of the road network, around 24,6 million pounds to water projects, 32,1 million pounds to civil planning, 36,4 million pounds to education, 16 million to the University of Cyprus, 7,1 million to cultural services, and 26,6 million to agricultural development.
 US-Cyprus sign legal assistance treatyIn a milestone in the fight against global terrorism, organized crime, drug- trafficking and related violent crimes, the Government of the Republic of Cyprus exchanged, yesterday in New York, instruments of ratification with the Government of the United States, bringing into force the reciprocal law enforcement treaty between the two countries.
"The US-Cyprus Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty" became effective yesterday upon the execution of the protocol of Exchange of Instruments of Ratification by the Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ioannis Kasoulides, and Mr. Marc Grossman, U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs. This Treaty will promote closer co-ordination between the two countries to transfer persons in custody, execute searches and seizures, share documents, records and intelligence materials, identify persons or items of interest to authorities and to take other measures designed to assist in the prosecution of a wide range of criminal offenses.
Minister Kasoulides stated: "This Treaty is an effective tool enabling us to join forces with the United States in a cooperative effort to combat and to deter illegal criminal activity. The Government of Cyprus looks forward to working closely as partners with the U.S. law enforcement community in the common cause of striking at criminal elements who will defy our laws."
Cyprus' geographic location - at the crossroads of Europe, the Middle-East and Africa - makes it an invaluable ally to the United States in stemming the rising tide of international terrorism and crime. The treaty is the latest in a series of bilateral agreements between the two countries. In 1999, a benchmark Extradition Treaty entered into force. In July of 2002, the U.S. and Cyprus entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to halt the illegal trafficking of antiquities and historical artifacts from Cyprus.
 Cyprus-Chad establish diplomatic relationsCyprus and the Republic of Chad have signed a protocol to establish diplomatic relations, yesterday at the UN headquarters in New York. The protocol was signed by the Cypriot Foreign Minister, Mr. Ioannis Kasoulides, on behalf of the Republic of Cyprus and the Foreign Minister of Chad, Mr. Mahamat Salem Annadif. The decision to sign such a protocol was taken a day earlier by the two Ministers, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
The protocol stresses the desire of the two countries to cooperate on political, financial, cultural and humanitarian issues. It also reflects the willingness of the two Governments to develop bilateral relations in accordance with international law and the principles of the UN Charter. Finally, the protocol foresees the reinforcement of cooperation between Cyprus and Chad at an international level.
 Cypriot Ambassador to Niger presents credentialsAmbassador Mr. Argyros Antoniou presented his credentials, on Tuesday, to the President of the Republic of Niger, Mr. Tandja Mamadou, as the new Ambassador of Cyprus to that country.
Mr. Antoniou conveyed President Clerides' wishes for success in reconstructing the country on the basis of sustainable development, progress, peace and welfare of the people of Niger, and thanked President Mamadou for his country's support in the efforts to find a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem.
Receiving the credentials, Mr. Mamadou expressed the hope that there will soon be a just solution to the Cyprus problem, in accordance with UN resolutions, decisions and principles of international law, which would allow all Cypriots to live in a peaceful, united and internationally- recognised federal democratic state.
The Niger President also referred to the excellent relations between the two countries and expressed his wish for a further enhancement of relations, particularly in the field of economy and commerce.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/