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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 03-02-20

Cyprus Press and Information Office: News Updates in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <>

  • [01]Thursday, 20 February 2003 De Soto welcomes new President's wish to start negotiations immediately
  • [02] Washington looks forward to working with new President, Boucher says
  • [03] Commission adopts favourable opinion on ten acceding countries
  • [04] Verheugen: Cyprus peace process must proceed as foreseen
  • [05] Cyprus and Egypt sign agreement on exclusive economic zone
  • [06] Cyprus and Lebanon sign double taxation avoidance agreement

    [01] De Soto welcomes new President's wish to start negotiations immediately

    The UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Cyprus, Mr. Alvaro de Soto, said that he welcomed the newly-elected Cyprus President's, Mr. Tassos Papadopoulos, wish to begin peace negotiations as quickly as possible. Speaking after a meeting with the outgoing President Mr. Glafcos Clerides yesterday, the UN diplomat stressed that he, like Mr. Papadopoulos, was ready to resume negotiations. He told reporters that he was going to meet with the new President, whom he would brief on the Annan plan. Mr. De Soto added that he was "ready to answer any questions that he [Mr. Papadopoulos] might have", hoping that "this will contribute to making progress in the coming days". Asked when the first direct meeting between Mr. Papadopoulos and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr. Rauf Denktash, would take place, Mr. De Soto replied, "I'll have to let you know by when that will be". Invited to comment on the Turkish Prime Minister's statements regarding the submission of a new revised plan, the UN official noted that he was not sure what Mr. Abdullah Gul meant, adding that Mr. Gul had met with the UN Secretary-General in Brussels, but he did not know what had been discussed at that meeting. "Everybody seems to be talking about the Secretary- Genera's new plan. We shall have to see", Mr. De Soto concluded. In addition, Mr. Alvaro de Soto held lengthy talks with the President-elect, Mr. Papadopoulos, yesterday, both in the morning and afternoon.

    [02] Washington looks forward to working with new President, Boucher says

    The US State Department's congratulatory message to the newly-elected Cyprus President was reiterated at yesterday's press briefing by its Spokesman, Mr. Richard Boucher, who, in reply to a question on the official US reaction to the election of Mr. Papadopoulos, said the following: "I think we gave it in a response yesterday but I will be glad to give it again. We congratulate Mr. Tassos Papadopoulos on his election as the fifth President of the Republic of Cyprus. The United States has a strong relationship with Cyprus and both countries have benefited from our cooperation in the war on terrorism and other vital issues. We look forward to building further on that foundation. We also thank outgoing President Clerides for his significant contributions to the cause of peace on the island and for our strong bilateral relationship that we built during his administration. We respect the outcome of Cyprus's democratic elections. We intend to work with the new president to build on our strong record of bilateral cooperation. Achieving a just and durable settlement on the basis of the United Nations plan is the most immediate and pressing issue, especially in light of Ambassador Weston's and UN Secretary General's upcoming visits to Cyprus." Asked if Washington maintained its reservations regarding Mr. Papadopoulos, as had been expressed in the past, Mr. Boucher replied, "As I said, we respect the outcome of Cyprus' diplomatic- democratic elections and we intend to work with the new government to build our strong foundations." On a question whether Turkey would be offered political gains - and specifically something on the Cyprus issue - in addition to economic ones for supporting the US in a war against Iraq, Mr. Boucher noted, "We have continued to talk to Turkey about an economic assistance package that would help them deal with the effects of conflict in a neighboring country, in Iraq, but I'm not going to be able to do that for you here in public", thus leaving out the specific reference on Cyprus. "As for Cyprus", he added, "I think you know we have made a statement about the election and we look forward to continuing to work with the new leadership in Cyprus and continuing to work with all the governments in the region to move on this opportunity for a settlement". Mr. Boucher also said that the State Department's Special Coordinator for Cyprus, Mr. Thomas Weston, was heading out to the region, in addition to the UN Secretary- General's visit there later in the month.

    [03] Commission adopts favourable opinion on ten acceding countries

    The European Commission adopted yesterday a favourable Opinion on the accession to the EU of ten applicant countries: the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia, following the successful conclusion of the accession negotiations with the aforementioned states at the European Council meeting in Copenhagen, on 13 December 2002, and the finalisation of the Treaty of Accession in the first half of February 2003. The Enlargement Commissioner, Mr. Gunter Verheugen, said that the decision represented for the Commission "the crown on many years of intensive work", adding that "it safeguards a smooth phasing-in of the new Member States into the various policy areas that make up the EU while preserving its internal cohesion and dynamism. Moreover, it is a further step towards the fulfillment of an ideal that will bring peace, stability and democracy in the whole area ranging from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea." The Commission states in its Opinion that "in joining the EU, the applicant states accept, without reserve, the Treaty on European Union and all its objectives, all decisions taken since the entry into force of the Treaties establishing the European Communities and the Treaty on European Union and the options taken in respect of the development and strengthening of those Communities and of the Union." It "calls on the acceding states to pursue vigorously the improvements that still need to be made in the context of the political and economic criteria for membership and in relation to the adoption, implementation and enforcement of the acquis." On Cyprus, the European Commission notes that it "hopes to see a re-united Cyprus acceding to the European Union on the basis of a comprehensive settlement, as the best outcome for all concerned." The adoption of the Commission Opinion is the first step in the co-decision procedure, whereby the decision to admit an applicant State to the European Union is taken by the Council, after consultations with the Commission and after having received the decision on assent of the European Parliament. In agreement with the timetable set by the Greek Presidency of the EU, to enable the signature of the Accession Treaty to take place in Athens on 16 April 2003, the decision on assent of the European Parliament is expected to be taken on 9 April 2003 and the Council decision will follow on 14 April 2003. The Accession Treaty then needs to be ratified by the 25 present and prospective Member States and will enter into force on 1 May 2004.

    [04] Verheugen: Cyprus peace process must proceed as foreseen

    The Enlargement Commissioner, Mr. Gunter Verheugen, stated that the peace process in Cyprus must proceed as foreseen and that a solution by 28 February was still possible, thus allowing a united Cyprus to sign the Accession Treaty. Speaking before the NATO Parliamentary Assembly last Tuesday, Mr. Verheugen reiterated the Commission's strong support for continuing the final efforts to reach a settlement of the Cyprus issue, and welcomed the forthcoming personal presence of the UN Secretary-General on the island later in this month. "A solution would benefit all Cypriots and would help bring peace and stability to Cyprus and the whole region", the Commissioner stressed, urging the parties involved to "seize this unique opportunity and to reach a settlement in the coming week." Mr. Verheugen pointed out that the Commission and the EU Member States had consistently underlined that the acquis communautaire should not be an obstacle to a settlement and that they were ready to accommodate the terms of a settlement in the Accession Treaty, in line with the principles on which the EU was founded. He also recalled the Commission's willingness to organise an International Donors' Conference for Cyprus.

    [05] Cyprus and Egypt sign agreement on exclusive economic zone

    Cyprus and Egypt have signed an agreement on the creation of an exclusive economic zone between them. The agreement was signed in Cairo last Monday, between the Cyprus Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Mr. Nicos Rolandis, and the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ahmed Maher. Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Mr. Rolandis noted that the agreement was of "historic importance" for Cyprus and the first accord of its kind to be signed in the Eastern Mediterranean. "Cyprus now has rights over 32,000 square kilometres of sea, about three and a half its land area", the Cyprus Minister said. The agreement provides for Cyprus to maintain exclusive sovereign rights for research, utilisation, maintenance, and management of the natural resources in the sea and the seabed and subsoil, including oil, natural gas and other forms of energy. In reply to a question on whether this agreement and the possibility of retrieving oil deposits within that zone could work as a motive for Turkish Cypriots in agreeing to a Cyprus settlement, Mr. Rolandis replied, "I believe that the lure of the possible mineral wealth is strong and could contribute positively to resolving the Cyprus problem", and hoped that a solution would be found on the basis of the Annan plan so that the whole population, under the common state, could exploit that wealth. Mr. Rolandis also advised the new Cyprus Government not to ignore the political aspect of exploiting the island's natural resources, and expressed the view that the outgoing President should fully inform the new President, Mr. Papadopoulos, on the matter. The Commerce Minister added that Cyprus would now focus its efforts on signing a similar agreement with Lebanon, while Israel and Syria were to follow.

    [06] Cyprus and Lebanon sign double taxation avoidance agreement

    The Minister of Finance, Mr. Takis Klerides, and his Lebanese counterpart, Mr. Fuad Siniora, have signed in Beirut last Tuesday the Convention between the Republic of Cyprus and the Lebanese Republic for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income and on capital. The agreement is particularly significant for the promotion of investments and the strengthening of economic cooperation between the two countries, especially after the important decision of Copenhagen and the role which Cyprus can play as the eastern frontier of the European Union.

    From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at

    Cyprus Press and Information Office: News Updates in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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