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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 03-07-01

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 <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

  • [01]Tuesday, 01 July 2003 Foreign Minister meets Sri Lankan counterpart
  • [02] Cyprus and Sri Lanka to sign civil aviation agreement
  • [03] Employment and Social Affairs Director General says Cyprus' harmonisation with social acquis is very advanced but some gaps remain to be addressed
  • [04] Washington is trying to resolve the Cyprus problem, says State Department spokesman

    [01] Foreign Minister meets Sri Lankan counterpart

    The Foreign Minister, Mr Georgios Iacovou, met yesterday in Nicosia with his Sri Lankan counterpart, Mr Tyronne Fernando, with whom he discussed the Cyprus problem, Cyprus' EU accession course, bilateral relations and prospects for future cooperation. Speaking after the meeting, Mr Iacovou said that the situation in Sri Lanka, regarding the problems caused by a national minority living in that country, was also discussed. The Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, who was on an official visit to the island, said that the two countries had had close ties for many years, particularly as members of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Commonwealth, and that they faced similar problems. Mr Fernando noted that there were about 15,000 Sri Lankan workers in Cyprus, expressing the belief that this bilateral cooperation could expand towards skilled workers and professionals as well. He also congratulated Mr Iacovou on Cyprus' accession to the European Union and hoped that Cyprus would not forget its old friends.

    [02] Cyprus and Sri Lanka to sign civil aviation agreement

    Cyprus and Sri Lanka will sign in the next few weeks a civil aviation agreement, providing for the creation of a direct air connection between the two countries via their national air carriers. Cyprus' Communications and Works Minister, Mr Kikis Kazamias, mentioned the above after a meeting with the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka, Mr Tyronne Fernando, yesterday in Nicosia. On his part, the Sri Lankan FM said that the world was turning into a global village and it was, therefore, essential for people to be able to travel quickly from one country to another. He also expressed certainty that the direct air connection between Cyprus and Sri Lanka would enhance bilateral ties.

    [03] Employment and Social Affairs Director General says Cyprus' harmonisation with social acquis is very advanced but some gaps remain to be addressed

    The Director General for European Commission DG Employment and Social Affairs, Ms Odile Quintin, has welcomed the progress made regarding Cyprus' harmonisation with the EU social acquis, but noted that there were still gaps that had to be filled prior to the island's accession to the Union on 1 May 2004. Speaking yesterday at a press conference in Nicosia, Ms Quintin said that the remaining gaps concerned the issue of combating discrimination on grounds of race and ethnic origin, religion, age, sexual orientation, disabilities, ideology and beliefs. Regarding the island's labour law, she acknowledged that a lot of progress had been made in implementing the relevant acquis but noted that more had to be done in other sectors such as gender equality and working hours. With regard to the issue of health and safety at the workplace, the Commission official said that although the relevant legislation was in place, there was a problem of implementation of those laws. Referring to the issue of pensions, she noted that the elderly were at a high risk of reaching the poverty limit, adding that other groups were facing the same danger such as single-parent families, persons with disabilities and foreign workers. She also made reference to the EU Social Fund, saying it could offer financial support to the areas of labour and employment. At the same time, she stressed the need for setting up the necessary administrative structures to handle those funds. Ms Quintin told journalists that Cyprus was the last stop on her tour of acceding countries, which aimed at assessing the progress of harmonisation of each of those countries in the areas of labour and social affairs. She noted that she would be drafting a relevant assessment report, which will be issued by the European Commission in November.

    [04] Washington is trying to resolve the Cyprus problem, says State Department spokesman

    The US State Department's Spokesman, Mr Richard Boucher, has noted that the Cyprus problem was an important matter for the USA and that efforts were being made for the resumption of the peace negotiations and the achievement of a solution. Replying to a press question yesterday regarding reports that Washington was trying hard for a solution to the Cyprus problem, especially through efforts by the US Undersecretary for Political Affairs Mr Marc Grossman, Mr Boucher said, "Mr Grossman has been pursuing this question of the Cyprus problem all along. It's been an important matter for all of us. And yes, the United States is making efforts to try to return to negotiations, to try to encourage the parties to work with the Secretary- General in the efforts that he's been making, and to try to resolve the Cyprus problem. I can confirm that we are indeed trying to resolve the Cyprus problem".

    From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/


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