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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-12-15

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Tuesday, 15 December 2009 Issue No: 3375


  • [01] PM pledges swift action on economic reforms
  • [02] Opposition parties reaction to measures announced by PM
  • [03] PM: 'We are a government of reforms'
  • [04] KKE: No consensus, dialogue on measures
  • [05] Athens welcomes visa-free travel for fYRoM citizens; tips to travellers
  • [06] Visa-free travel concerns only holders of biometric passports
  • [07] Greek official appointed to CoE com't chair
  • [08] MP tables question regarding outlawing of party in Turkey
  • [09] Gov't unveils new shipping policy
  • [10] Greek FinMin to meet German counterpart in Bonn
  • [11] Stockbreeders block Evzoni border post
  • [12] Construction production index down 14.2 pct in Q3
  • [13] Stocks end 2.60% higher
  • [14] ADEX closing report
  • [15] Greek bond market closing report
  • [16] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [17] Patriach on climate change
  • [18] City of Athens delegation at climate change con'f
  • [19] Onassis Awards bestowed
  • [20] Bank robbers caught after lengthy pursuit in Halkida area
  • [21] Archbishop Ieronymos visits low-income district in west Athens
  • [22] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [23] Downer: Leaders discuss their way forward
  • [24] UNSC adopts resolution on UNFICYP Politics

  • [01] PM pledges swift action on economic reforms

    Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Monday pledged that his government will take swift action to promoting bold reforms in the country with the aim to restoring confidence in the economy and calm markets' fears over the country's ballooning debt and fiscal deficit.

    Addressing a meeting of social partners, workers' and employers' unions, government ministers and representatives of economic and social groups, at the Zappeion Hall, the Greek premier said the government has the will to take bold actions and urged for consensus with Greek citizens, saying that international confidence on the economy will be strongly and rapidly restored if both the government and citizens agreed to move forward to change the country.

    Papandreou presented the main goals of a government reform plan, saying that a dialogue with social partners must have been completed by early next year (end of February), so that the government could begin implementing its new policy.

    The premier stressed that the country needed a new social deal. "We must change or sink," he said. He noted that the new PASOK government must take in the next three months decisions not taken in decades by previous governments.

    The government will begin a fiscal consolidation plan with its 2010 state budget, Papandreou said and pledged that the fiscal deficit will be brought below 3.0% of the country's Gross Domestic Product in 2013. This will be achieved through the implementation of structural and permanent measures, the premier said and noted that the country's public debt would begin falling from 2012 at the latest.

    Papandreou presented a package of measures aimed at cutting the fiscal deficit, including lower operating spending by the state (decrease by 10% of operating costs), freezing new hirings in the public sector for 2010 -with the exception of education, health and social insurance sectors-, closing all press offices abroad (which will be absorbed by Greek embassies), closing one closing one third of the national tourism organisation's (EOT) offices abroad, offering pay rises at the inflation rate, cutting spending on pay benefits in the public sector by 10 pct, introducing a single payment authority in the public sector by mid-2010 and reducing arms supply programs in 2011 and 2012.

    Papandreou also announced a reduction in executive pays in public sector enterprises, freezing bonuses to high-ranking bank executives controlled by the state and taxing private banks' executives' bonuses with a 90 pct tax rate.

    He said that a reform of the development law would be implemented in the first three months of 2010, aiming at creating new jobs, supporting export activity and Green Development.

    Papandreou also announced bold changes in the public procurement program and in pharmaceutical supplies to state hospitals and noted that all ministries' spending would be reassessed from zero base. He pledged full transparency in the execution on state budgets.

    The prime minister also said that drastic measures were being taken in the fight against economic crime and tax evasion while promising a radical change in the way ecomomic immigrants are treated in the country.

    He also said that a reform of the electoral law would offer the possibility of cutting down election campaign expenditures and "black money", announcing that the new electoral law would be implemented in next year's local government elections.

    [02] Opposition parties reaction to measures announced by PM

    In a reaction to Prime Minister George Papandreou's statements over the economy on Monday, a main opposition New Democracy (ND) party spokesman said that the premier was "disappointing".

    Panos Panagiotopoulos said that in "an exceptionally crucial conjuncture for the country, Greek citizens were expecting from the prime minister to announce a complete and detailed plan for the Greek economy's exit from the crisis. Instead of that, the prime minister restricted himself in declarations of good intentions...When he tried to be more concrete he either referred to isolated measures or to measures already taken by the New Democracy government."

    "The government must find the political courage to abandon its preelectoral promises and take the necessary measures for fiscal adjustment," Panagiotopoulos added.

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said in an announcement that "no consensus must be offered to the so called patriotic front which aims at creating the new green rich," and called for "a popular alliance and counterattack" for defending the working people's interests.

    On its part, the Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) said in his press release "it is certain that the Greek people expected much more from Mr. Papandreou's televised speech."

    [03] PM: 'We are a government of reforms'

    The government could not afford to stick to the day-to-day management of problems without groundbreaking reforms and some tough decisions, Prime Minister George Papandreou stressed on Monday while addressing an informal meeting of the cabinet.

    "If we stick to the management of day-to-day affairs we will suffer wear and lose the major wagers. We must convert the pressures into opportunities in order to cure the long-term ailments of political and public life," Papandreou underlined.

    The prime minister said the government would succeed in correcting current injustices and protecting both medium incomes and the more vulnerable sections of society, while he welcomed the outcome of the European Council as positive.

    He particularly emphasised the recognition of the real problems of the country, such as corruption, bureaucracy and wasteful spending as a result of client-politics.

    "Carrying out the decisions requires participation. We have begun dialogue, as we promised before the elections and our organised course lends credibility internationally," Papandreou added.

    [04] KKE: No consensus, dialogue on measures

    Communist Party (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga on Monday referred to a political leaders' meeting scheduled for Tuesday at the presidential mansion, which will focus on the endemic problem of corruption in the country.

    Speaking during a meeting with dockworkers, Papariga noted that the "government attempts to present corruption as the main cause of the (economic) crisis and its alleged battle to overcome this crisis," adding that KKE will not contribute towards this effort and will table its separate proposals for the benefit of the working classes.

    She also charged that the prime minister's attempt to portray himself as resisting the EU's recommendations are merely a "theatre of the absurd", claiming that these measures have "already been unanimously agreed to and are included in PASOK's programme."

    In conclusion, the communist leader said that a consensus and dialogue on whatever measures must be avoided. "The only dialogue that must take place is the one that will be held in work places on the organisation of a struggle against the government measures".

    [05] Athens welcomes visa-free travel for fYRoM citizens; tips to travellers


    Greece's liaison office in Skopje on Monday issued a statement welcoming the recent EU visa liberalisation for citizens of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM), noting that the development will reinforce the already close contacts between the citizens of this country and neighbouring Greece.

    The liaison office added that for the measure to be implemented in the most efficient way, citizens of fYRoM travelling to Greece should make sure of the following:

    [06] Visa-free travel concerns only holders of biometric passports

    When citizens of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM) enter and leave Greece, the entry/exit stamp will not be put on their passport, but on a separate document, which will be available at the border

    This document will also be available, as of Dec. 16, 2009, at Greece's liaison office in Skopje and at the Greek consulate in Bitola (Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 12 noon and 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.)

    Travellers are encouraged to obtain it and fill it in advance, in order to save time at the border

    The holders of this document have the obligation to retain it when travelling within the Schengen area (and not only to Greece)

    The holders of this document also have the obligation to retain it for one year after its last use

    Apart form their passport and the separate document, citizens travelling to Greece may be asked to present -- at the border -- other documents justifying the purpose of their visit and the conditions of their stay in Greece. In particular, travellers should have with them health insurance and documents proving their work or retirement status, or, for instance, their student ID

    Moreover, travellers should carry with them 50 euros per each day of their intended stay in Greece

    Persons registered in the Schengen Information System or the nationals databases as personae non gratae cannot enter the Schengen space.

    [07] Greek official appointed to CoE com't chair

    General Secretariat for Gender Equality official Ifigeneia Katsaridou was appointed late last month to the chair of the Council of Europe's (CoE) steering committee for gender equality (CDEG), the ministry of justice, transparency and human rights announced on Monday.

    The committee comprises representatives of 47 CoE state-members as well as observers from third countries and NGOs.

    [08] MP tables question regarding outlawing of party in Turkey

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) MP Panagiotis Lafazanis on Monday referred to a Turkish court's decision to outlaw the pro-Kurdish DTP party in the neighbouring country, in a question tabled in Parliament and directed at Prime Minister and Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

    Lafazanis asks whether Athens intends to undertake initiatives on the EU level leading to a condemnation of the decision, and whether the Greek government will reconsider its position as regards Turkey's EU accession course.

    Financial News

    [09] Gov't unveils new shipping policy

    Greek Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Luca Katseli on Monday said the government was re-assessing an older legislation covering the country's coastal shipping sector and announced the hiring of an auditor in the seamen's insurance fund to ensure a modern and proper management of the fund's assets.

    Speaking to reporters, the Greek minister said there was an agreement between dock workers in the Port of Piraeus and the port's authority while she stressed that Piraeus Port Authority was drafting a new investment plan aimed at strengthening the port's position in Eastern Mediterranean. Katseli noted that a revised Fourth Community Support Framework program included actions to support sea tourism, coastal shipping and harbors.

    Through this program we will be able to cut sea transport costs in remote islands, Katseli said, while she added that the government would also promote actions to support the shipbuilding industry.

    [10] Greek FinMin to meet German counterpart in Bonn

    BONN (ANA-MPA/P.Stangos)

    A German finance ministry spokesman confirmed Monday press reports that Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou will be meeting his counterpart Wolfgang Schäuble here on Tuesday.

    Papaconstantinou will be travelling to Bonn on Tuesday.

    [11] Stockbreeders block Evzoni border post

    Á group of farmers from Kilkis prefecture, in extreme northern Greece, is staging a periodic blockade fo the Evzoni border post on the frontier between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM).

    According to a local stockbreeders association, the mobilisation will end at 3 p.m. (local time) and resume three hours later until midnight.

    [12] Construction production index down 14.2 pct in Q3

    Greece's contrustrion production index fell 14.2 pct in the third quarter of 2009, compared with the same period last year, after recording a 3.3 pct increase in the third quarter of 2008, the National Statistical Service said on Monday.

    The statistics agency, in a report, attributed the decline to an 18.7 pct drop in the building production index and an 11.7 pct fall in the engineer's production index.

    [13] Stocks end 2.60% higher

    Stocks recovered at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, pushing the composite index of the market above the 2,200 level. The index ended at 2,216.94 points, up 2.60 pct. Turnover was a moderate 198.9 million euros.

    Most sectors moved upwards, with the Utilities (4.86 pct), Banks (4.85 pct), Technology (3.28 pct) and Insurance (2.45 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Personal/Home Products (1.21 pct) and Raw Materials (1.07 pct) suffered losses.

    The FTSE 20 index jumped 3.52 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.26 pct down and the FTSE 80 index rose 0.57 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 108 to 88 with another 45 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +2.45%

    Industrials: +0.52%

    Commercial: +0.89%

    Construction: +0.68%

    Media: +0.37%

    Oil & Gas: +0.32%

    Personal & Household: -1.21%

    Raw Materials: -1.07%

    Travel & Leisure: +2.18%

    Technology: +3.28%

    Telecoms: Unchanged

    Banks: +4.85%

    Food & Beverages: +1.84%

    Health: +0.10%

    Utilities: +4.86%

    Chemicals: +0.35%

    Financial Services: +1.12%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, EFG Eurobank Ergasias and Bank of Cyprus.

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 8.11

    ATEbank: 1.75

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 13.28

    HBC Coca Cola: 16.59

    Hellenic Petroleum: 8.30

    National Bank of Greece: 18.08

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 7.98

    Intralot: 3.64

    OPAP: 16.25

    OTE: 10.30

    Bank of Piraeus: 8.48

    Titan: 21.30

    [14] ADEX closing report

    The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at at discount of 0.75 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover rising to 123.708 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 18,954 contracts worth 105.840 million euros, with 23,655 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 22,427 contracts worth 17.868 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (4,488), followed by Eurobank (947), MIG (2,717), OTE (851), Piraeus Bank (985), Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling (1,230), Alpha Bank (1,592), Intracom (1,177), Marfin Popular Bank (2,096) and Intralot (1,533).

    [15] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank further to 231 basis points in the Greek electronic secondary bond market on Monday, with the Greek bond yielding 5.51 pct and the German Bund 3.19 pct.

    Turnover in the market totaled a low 795 million euros, of which 600 million were sell orders and the remaining 195 million euros were buy orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 19, 2019) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 200 million euros.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.23 pct, the six-month rate 0.66 pct, the three-month rate 0.71 pct and the one-month rate 0.43 pct.

    [16] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.476

    Pound sterling 0.907

    Danish kroner 7.501

    Swedish kroner 10.505

    Japanese yen 130.59

    Swiss franc 1.524

    Norwegian kroner 8.536

    Canadian dollar 1.570

    Australian dollar 1.62

    General News

    [17] Patriach on climate change


    Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew called for a legally binding international agreement to avert the overheating of the planet, in a letter addressed to the leaders of the international community in view of the UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen.

    Reaching a beneficial agreement within the framework of the international negotiations in Copenhagen is not only morally imperative for the protection of the universe but a path to social and economic survival as well, he underlined.

    "The action against the climate change should not be regarded as an economic burden but as a major opportunity for a healthier planet for the benefit of humanity as a whole, the underdeveloped countries in particular," the Ecumenical Patriarch stressed.

    "Profit, especially, short-term profit, should not motivate our actions more so when it downgrades our shared and God-given natural heritage," he said.

    Bartholomew underlined that "the climate change, as a threat to humanity and the planet, and the progress observed in science and technology clearly show that the only way to a low carbon economy (LCE) is the development of the renewable energy sources (RES), energy saving and no more deforestation."

    The letter of the Ecumenical Patriarch was addressed to the leaders of the United States, China, Russia, India, Pakistan, the European states and the UN Secretary General.

    In a letter addressed to Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, the Ecumenical Patriarch called for bold commitments in the Copenhagen negotiations that will lead Greece as soon as possible to a low-carbon energy policy.

    [18] City of Athens delegation at climate change con'f

    Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis heads a city of Athens delegation which departed on Monday for Copenhagen in order to participate in the UN Climate Change Conference.

    As a member of the largest international cities' initiative for climate change, C40 - Climate Leadership Group, the municipality is proceeding with the implementation of a strategic plan for climate change, based on seven axes of priority, which it will present at the conference, according to a press release.

    [19] Onassis Awards bestowed

    PARIS (ANA-MPA/O.Tsipira)

    The Onnassis Awards for Law and Belles Lettres were given here on Monday during a ceremony at the La Coupole Hall of the Institute of France.

    Lord Thomas Bingham of Cornhill, a member of the British Academy, received the Law award while the Belles Lettres award went to French researcher and Director of the French Center for Alexandrian Studies in Alexandria, Egypt, Jean Yves Empereur and Sir John Boardman, professor of Classical Art and Archaeology at Oxford University and member of the British Academy.

    The Onassis Awards are accompenied by the sum of 250,000 Euros. They will be given every two years.

    Addressing a press conference earlier in the day, the President of the Onassis Foundation Antonis Papadimitriou referred to late Aristotle Onassis's wish for the awards to be given an international character.

    [20] Bank robbers caught after lengthy pursuit in Halkida area

    Two armed robbers that hit a EuroBank branch in Aliveri just before noon on Monday were finally caught after a lengthy car chase, exchange of fire and extended searches by police in the Halkida area lasting several hours.

    Two Albanian nationals armed with an Uzi automatic weapon and a pistol entered the bank, grabbed 21,000 euros from the tills and escaped in two stolen vehicles. One was found abandoned a short distance from the bank and the second was spotted by a patrol car that immediately went into pursuit.

    The two bank robbers opened fire on the police, who returned fire, with dozens of shots exchanged. A full-scale chase ensued, with the assistance of a police helicopter, and the two suspects were finally tracked down to the seaside resort of Eretria, where they took refuge in a hotel.

    One of the two Albanians, aged 25, was arrested there and taken to Halkida hospital for first aid to treat an injury to his lower leg. The second man succeeded in escaping temporarily but was found and arrested shortly afterward during a search of the hotel and surrounding area.

    In the car left by the two suspects in the hotel car park, police found the money taken in the robbery, the uzi automatic and a Tokarev pistol.

    The two men are now being held at the Halkida police headquarters, where police will be making announcements regarding the case later on Monday evening.

    Meanwhile, police announced that a 16-year-old boy shot by two robbers during a Sunday night hit on an Aspropyrgos convenience store was still in intensive care. The boy was a friend of the owner and was in the shop keeping her company when an armed man entered and demanded the money in the till. The boy attacked him with a broomstick but was shot in the abdomen by his partner, also armed, who was waiting outside.

    The two men were chased by a passing police patrol car and the motorbike they were riding overturned but both managed to escape and are still at large.

    [21] Archbishop Ieronymos visits low-income district in west Athens

    Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece visited an elementary school in Zefiri, in extreme western Athens, on Monday and delivered humanitarian aid to gypsy families living in the district.

    The Archbishop and young pupils pledged to co-sign a contract with the rights and obligations of the children that will also include the obligations of the adults toward them.

    [22] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    A dire economic and fiscal crisis now directly and pressingly affecting Greece along with the government's envisioned measures to confront it, along with the latest developments in main opposition New Democracy party mostly dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Public services to remain open in afternoon".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Prime Minister George Papandreou will announce on Monday the framework of severe tax measures".

    AVRIANI: "The 'old' PASOK against harsh measures".

    CHORA: "Clouds of war over New Democracy - Main opposition on head-on collision".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Dora Bakoyannis rejects ND's leader proposal to become responsible for education, culture sectors".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Government to impose VAT on everything".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Government hints at drastic measures".

    ESTIA: "They're (PASOK government) totally unprepared to govern - They didn't have a plan for economy".

    ETHNOS: "Brussels' list of immediate measures".

    IMERISSIA: "Time of responsibility for country - Markets awaiting measures on economy".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Government unveils political position to exit crisis."

    TA NEA: "Police in battle against tax evasion".

    VRADYNI: "One hundred days of a (PASOK government) nightmare"

    Cyprus Affairs

    [23] Downer: Leaders discuss their way forward


    The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus discussed on Monday the way forward as regards their direct negotiations, aiming to reach a settlement of the problem of Cyprus, divided since the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974.

    In statements after a meeting held Monday between Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, UN Secretary General's Special Advisor on Cyprus Alexander Downer said the two leaders authorised him ''to say that they had a very productive meeting and what they talked about was the upcoming meetings which are going to occur over the next month''.

    He added that "the discussion was with the objective of bridging differences on the issues that have already been covered in the negotiations up until now. The representatives will be meeting again on Thursday here to work out some of the details''.

    He added that the two leaders discussed the way forward, how they are going to handle meetings over the next few weeks, adding that it was a very productive and a very useful discussion.

    Asked if he is still cautiously optimistic, Downer said "I wouldn't have taken the job if I didn't think there was any prospect of success. I remain cautiously optimistic. These talks have covered a wide area. There has been a lot of productive discussion. They've certainly moved forward a good distance and I remain cautiously optimistic."

    Asked if the UN Secretary General is planning a visit to Cyprus, Downer noted that no final decision has been made yet.

    "I know the UNSG would like to come here at some time but obviously has a very full agenda. He has a large number of different issues to deal with. I met with the SG last week. He is very focused on the Cyprus question. He is very interested in the Cyprus question. I spent a good deal of time with him. He asked me a lot about it. He wanted to know the details of how it was working. He wanted to understand the different chapters that were being discussed and get a real sense of where the leaders are at. So it was an illustration of the very great interest the SG has in this issue," he added.

    Noting that the Secretary General has to deal with everything from the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference to Afghanistan and Iraq and fighting poverty in developing countries and so has a simply massive agenda, Downer said that "in spite of that the Secretary General is very focused on the Cyprus issue. He would like to come here at some time and obviously that is something he and I will consult on, continue to consult on and I think we will find an appropriate time, but no final decision has been made on that."

    Asked about the leaders' next meeting, he said it is going to take place on December 21st.

    Replying to another question, Downer said "it is very important to make sure that the way forward is clear and understood by all and agreed and so the representatives will be talking about this on Thursday and the leaders will hear what they have to say and what they've agreed the following Monday."

    He also noted that the two leaders "are certainly focused very much on bridging the differences" in the areas they have covered.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus have been engaged in UN-led direct negotiations since September 2008, with an aim to reunify the island.

    [24] UNSC adopts resolution on UNFICYP


    The UN Security Council has adopted resolution 1898 on the renewal of the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).

    The resolution was adopted Monday with 14 votes in favour and one against, that of Turkey.

    The resolution says that the Security Council welcomes the reports of the UN Secretary General of 25 November 2009 on the UN operation in Cyprus and of 30 November 2009 on his mission of good offices in Cyprus.

    It notes that ''the government of Cyprus is agreed that, in view of the prevailing conditions on the island, it is necessary to keep UNFICYP beyond 15 December 2009.''

    The Security Council echoes ''the Secretary General's firm belief that the responsibility for finding a solution lies first and foremost with the Cypriots themselves,'' stresses that ''there now exists a rare opportunity to make decisive progress in a timely fashion,'' and reaffirms ''the primary role of the UN in assisting the parties to bring the Cyprus conflict and division of the island to a comprehensive and durable settlement.''

    It commends the leaders of the two communities for ''the political leadership they have shown,'' warmly welcomes the progress made so far and the leaders' joint statements, and urges the leaders ''to increase the momentum in the negotiations to ensure the full exploitation of this opportunity to reach a comprehensive settlement, based on a bicommunal, bizonal federation, with political equality, as set out in the relevant Security Council resolutions.''

    Furthermore, it emphasises ''the importance attached by the international community of all parties engaging fully, flexibly and constructively in the negotiations,'' and looks forward to decisive progress in the near future.

    It welcomes the intention of the Secretary General to keep the Security Council informed, welcomes the implementation of some of the confidence building measures announced by the leaders, and calls for ''a renewed effort to implement the remaining measures,'' as well as agreement for further steps.

    The Security Council reaffirms the importance of continued crossings between the two sides, encourages the opening of further crossing points, welcomes the agreement to open the Limnitis crossing point, and urges the two sides to implement the second phase of the restoration of the Ledra Street crossing point.

    It is also convinced of the benefits for all Cypriots from a settlement of the Cyprus problem, and encourages both sides to clearly explain these benefits, as well as the need for increased flexibility and compromise, to both communities well in advance of any eventual referenda.

    The Security Council highlights the supportive role of the international community, takes note of the assessment of the Secretary General that the security situation on the island remains stable, and urges all sides to avoid any action that would lead to tension, undermine progress made so far, or damage the goodwill on the island.

    It recalls the Secretary General's firm belief that the situation in the buffer zone would be improved if both sides accepted the 1989 aide memoire used by the UN, welcomes the progress and continuation of the work of the Committee on Missing Persons, trusts that this process will promote reconciliation, agrees that active participation of civil society groups is essential to progress and could contribute to making any future settlement sustainable, welcomes all efforts to promote bicommunal contacts, and urges the two sides to promote active engagement of civil society and encourage cooperation between economic and commercial bodies.

    Furthermore, it stresses the need for the Council to pursue a rigorous, strategic approach to peacekeeping deployments, welcomes the intention of the Secretary General to keep all peacekeeping operations under close review, and notes the importance of contingency planning.

    It welcomes Downer's continued efforts to assist the parties in their negotiations, echoes the Secretary General's gratitude to the governments of Cyprus and Greece for their voluntary contributions to the funding of UNFICYP and his request for further voluntary contributions from other countries and organisations, and welcomes and encourages efforts by the UN to sensitise personnel in the prevention and control of communicable diseases in all peacekeeping operations.

    The Security Council ''welcomes the analysis of developments on the ground over the last six months in the Secretary General's reports, in accordance with his mandate, welcomes also the progress made so far in the fully fledged negotiations, and the prospect of further progress in the near future towards a comprehensive and durable settlement that this has created,'' and ''urges full exploitation of this opportunity, including by intensifying the momentum of negotiations, improving the current atmosphere of trust and goodwill, and engaging in the process in a constructive and open manner.''

    It ''urges also the implementation of confidence building measures, and looks forward to the agreement on and implementation of further such steps, including the opening of other crossing points, reaffirms all its relevant resolutions on Cyprus, in particular resolution 1251 (1999) of 29 June 1999 and subsequent resolutions, expresses its full support for UNFICYP and decides to extend its mandate for a further period ending 15 June 2010.''

    Furthermore, it ''calls on both sides to continue to engage, as a matter of urgency and while respecting UNFICYP's mandate, in consultations with UNFICYP on the demarcation of the buffer zone, and on the UN 1989 aide memoire, with a view to reaching early agreement on outstanding issues,'' and ''calls on the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkish forces to restore in Strovilia the military status quo which existed prior to 30 June 2000.''

    It ''requests the Secretary General to submit a report on implementation of this resolution, including on contingency planning in relation to the settlement, by 1 June 2010 and to keep the Security Council updated on events as necessary.''

    The Security Council ''welcomes the efforts being undertaken by UNFICYP to implement the Secretary General's zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse and to ensure full compliance of its personnel with the UN code of conduct, requests the Secretary General to continue to take all necessary action in this regard and to keep the Security Council informed, and urges troop contributing countries to take appropriate preventive action, including the conduct of predeployment awareness training, and to take disciplinary action and other action to ensure full accountability in cases of such conduct involving their personnel.''

    The resolution concludes with the Security Council deciding ''to remain seized of the matter.''

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: GEORGE TAMBAKOPOULOS

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