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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 03-01-10
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Friday, 10 January 2003
 CoE Secretary General concludes Cyprus visitThe Secretary General of the Council of Europe (CoE), Mr. Walter Schwimmer, concluded yesterday his official visit to Cyprus, after a four-day stay on the island.
Speaking to the press upon his departure yesterday afternoon, at Larnaca airport, Mr. Schwimmer said that he was very pleased from his contacts in Cyprus and stressed that the existent window of opportunity for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem should be utilised.
Making reference to his meeting with Turkish Cypriot politicians, yesterday morning at the Ledra Palace, the CoE chief said that he observed a "strong will for reunifying the island" among Turkish Cypriots. He also said that he invited Turkish Cypriots to the CoE headquarters for talks, since "they too should enjoy the benefits flowing from Cyprus' membership to the Council".
Mr. Schwimmer noted that giving some assistance to the efforts for resolving the Cyprus issue was the best outcome of his visit to the island.
Asked by reporters to comment on the stance of the new Turkish government with regard to the Cyprus problem, Mr. Schwimmer said that he trusted the new administration in that country to promote the reunification of Cyprus and negotiate seriously on the basis of the Annan plan, since it had realised the "huge benefit" for Turkey in the case of a solution.
He added that by contributing towards a solution in Cyprus, "Turkey will set a political stop to its financial problems and it would facilitate the way for it to become a member of the European Union".
 Interior Minister says more than 1,200 passports issued to Turkish CypriotsMore than 1,200 passports have been issued to Turkish Cypriots recently, the Interior Minister Dr. Andreas Panayiotou revealed yesterday.
Asked by the press to comment on a newspaper article claiming that the Government had issued 1,600 passports to Turkish Cypriots, the Interior Minister noted that an increase of applications by Turkish Cypriots to obtain passports had been anticipated, adding that the submission of such applications had never ceased.
Dr. Panayiotou said that the Government maintained comprehensive records allowing it to verify whether an applicant was a Turkish Cypriot or not, even in the cases of young applicants born after 1974 or 1963 for some regions of the island.
"For us, these people are citizens of the Republic of Cyprus and they are being treated as such", he stressed.
The Minister pointed out that the Government was issuing other certificates as well, like identification cards and birth certificates, to those Turkish Cypriot applicants who were entitled to such documents.
 Presidential candidacies to be submitted on 17 JanuaryThe office of the Chief Returning Officer has announced yesterday that candidacies for the February presidential elections will be submitted on 17 January, 2003, from 9:00am until noon, at the Hilton Hotel in Nicosia.
For each candidacy, the amount of £1000 is required, together with the signatures of nine registered voters, one proposing the candidacy and another eight supporting it.
Applications for submitting a candidacy can be obtained from the Central Electoral Service in Nicosia, during working hours.
 Reference to Cyprus by US Ambassador to GreeceThe US Ambassador to Greece, Mr. Thomas Miller, made a brief reference to the Cyprus problem in his speech at the American Hellenic Institute in Washington DC yesterday:
"We are right on the cusp of some really, really interesting but by no means guaranteed possibilities; there are some real possibilities here but there are no guarantees. Clearly there is a fascinating dynamic that is going on in Turkey right now, and you see it, you see it publicly, and you have got a leadership there that sees some real advantages to coming to closure on the Cyprus problem in the context of the Annan plan. We are very active and you are not going to see our activity if we are doing our work right."
Referring to Greece's support for Turkey during the recent European Union Council meeting at Copenhagen, Ambassador Miller noted the Greek Government's conviction that there would be new opportunities for cooperation with Turkey, and underlined that the new Turkish Government "are rethinking the old thing and including Cyprus, and it is a fascinating dynamic going on right now and we are going to do everything we can to try to push this dynamic in a direction that will give us a Cyprus solution."
Asked to comment on the reasons why the United States of America supported the Annan solution plan, Mr. Miller said that President Clerides and Prime Minister Simitis had said that the Annan plan was a serious plan and a basis for negotiation.
Replying to another question Ambassador Miller said the US wished to see a continuous improvement in Greco Turkish relations and noted that the Cyprus problem was one of the "points of contention" between the two countries which needed to be settled.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/