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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-01-25

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

Monday, 25 January 2010 Issue No: 3405

CONTENTS

  • [01] ND leader Antonis Samaras addresses Central Committee
  • [02] Samaras slams government for 'inertia and laxity'
  • [03] Minister's talks with farmers deadlocked
  • [04] Farmers remain at roadblocks on Sunday
  • [05] ND official on farmers' issue
  • [06] SYN, KKE leaders visit farmer road blocks
  • [07] Deputy FM Kouvelis in Qatar
  • [08] KKE: legalisation for all migrants, nationality for all young people
  • [09] KKE leader visits Patra
  • [10] LAOS conference on migration issues
  • [11] Tsipras: state must hold contractors to account for Tempi landslide
  • [12] Attica residents wary of buying property, survey shows
  • [13] Cold front grips Greece
  • [14] Defence minister at memorial service for WWII Holocaust victims
  • [15] Attack on PASOK offices in Ippokratous
  • [16] Prosecutor charges 44 for attack on anti-racist event
  • [17] Protest against road tolls at Malgara, Thessaloniki
  • [18] Gamekeeper shot by poachers resisting arrest
  • [19] Man arrested with 12 kg of hashish
  • [20] Burglars break open ATM machine
  • [21] Panathinaikos widens Super League lead
  • [22] Cloud, snow or sleet on Monday
  • [23] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance
  • [24] Christofias says he has the necessary will to address Turkish intransigence
  • [25] Cyprus ready to welcome the appointment of a special envoy by US President
  • [26] Government welcomes Russian FM's statements on Cyprus Politics

  • [01] ND leader Antonis Samaras addresses Central Committee

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras, addressing the party's Central Committee on Saturday, stressed the need for a new change in the country, adding that the course has already begun for ND that will be concluded with the party's 8th regular Congress of Principles and Positions.

    Samaras stressed that he will not tolerate introversion in the party, saying that "I do not owe anything to anyone. My only duty is towards the hundreds of citizens who voted. ND will become the pole of a new social majority and not a fragile coalition of personal strategies and groups."

    Referring to the farmers' issue, the ND leader reiterated that he is against roadblocks but added that the farmers' problems are serious because they have been led to a deadlock and concern society in its entirety.

    Samaras further said about the political and economic situation that "we are experiencing the worst winter in the past 35 years. Our mistakes are to blame as well as the unbelievable inertia of the government of PASOK. When it had become known that the deficit will exceed 12 percent, the spread was 135 and now its has exceeded 300. There are responsibilities."

    He also reiterated his basic positions on issues opened by the government, "administrative reform that is a plan of our own is being degraded with the 'Kallikratis' plan because it is taking place in an era of economic crisis without the limits of municipalities having been clarified, without the resources having been found."

    Samaras focused on the immigration issue as well, pointing out that "Greece is a gateway for the entry of illegal immigrants for Europe," adding that "the government is taking the most flexible measures without security valves. We do not envisage Greece as an enclosed fortress, but neither as a free-for-all."

    [02] Samaras slams government for 'inertia and laxity'

    Main opposition New Democracy President Antonis Samaras accused the government of general inertia and laxity during an interview published on Sunday by the newspaper "Typos tis Kyriakis" under the headline: "I will not rule over ruins".

    "The fact that we support the government in what is necessary for overcoming the crisis does not mean that we are giving up. Just as I promised to support them in times of difficulty, in the same way I will ring the 'warning bell' every time they founder. The economy cannot withstand such goings-on," Samaras said.

    ND's leader once more expressed the party's disagreement with the closure of roads by protesting farmers, which he said was the harbinger of worse to come.

    "Unfortunately, the state does not have a farming policy but only a policy for distributing subsidies and other financial support," he said, adding that this long-term failure of policy was generating more and more desperation among farmers and increased numbers of road blocks.

    On the process of reorganising ND after its electoral defeat, Samaras said that the party had now overcome the period of introversion and indicated that he was in a position to assess when criticism was useful.

    He also noted that ND was not afraid of the parliamentary probes being proposed by ruling PASOK, stressing that his party had nothing to hide.

    On the issue of giving nationality to the children of migrants, Samaras said that nationality should be given to the children of legal migrants in Greece after they complete nine years of mandatory education.

    [03] Minister's talks with farmers deadlocked

    Agricultural Development and Food Minister Katerina Batzeli held deadlocked talks on Sunday with farmers' representatives from 14 roadblocks in central Greece.

    The farmers' concluded that their demands were not met and referred decisions on the continuation of roadblocks to the general assemblies of the various "blocks". They announced that their mobilisations will continue with the closure of roads.

    On her part, Batzeli appealed to farmers to show their social sensitivity, while clarifying that there is no possibility of subsidies being given.

    "We are close to the struggles of the farmers. We shall follow the path of reforms of institutional changes in the agricultural economy, the agricultural movement," she said, adding that "the farmers are aware of the problems and I hope they will take the correct decisions for the good of society."

    [04] Farmers remain at roadblocks on Sunday

    Protesting farmers remained at their roadblocks throughout Greece on Saturday and Sunday, obstructing the flow of traffic on many roads and determined to force the government to concede to their demands.

    The border blockade at Promahonas, on the Greek-Bulgarian border, was temporarily opened from Saturday night as Serres farmers were awaiting the results of their meeting with Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Katerina Batzeli on Monday.

    Their representatives stressed, however, that they were ready to escalate their protest action from Monday, not ruling out a blockade of the Thessaloniki-Bulgaria rail connection, if their demands were refused.

    Their protests have had an impact on the local ski resorts, which had expected heightened traffic as a result of the recent snows but had few visitors, since few excursionists braved the prospect of finding roads closed by tractors.

    In addition to several intersections and border crossings, farmers used tractors to obstruct the passage of trucks and heavy goods vehicles at the port of Igoumenitsa in northwestern Greece, preventing truckers from boarding ferries for Italy or leaving the port.

    Goods vehicles coming off the ferry "Champion" of ANEK lines remained trapped inside the port after their arrival from Italy.

    A public prosecutor has visited the port of Igoumenitsa to hold talks with the farmers, while several trucks that had intended to board the "Superfast" ferry to Italy were waiting outside the port.

    In a comment on the protests in the newspaper "Free Sunday", Batzeli stressed that the yearly going forth of tractors onto the roads every winter by farmers was doing them a disservice and "sending the wrong messages to society, which saw and judged them."

    The minister stressed that representatives of all production and social bodies will be meeting at Zappion on Monday for the start of dialogue on farm issues, while the invitation to the representatives of the farmers at the road blocks to take part and outline their positions and proposals remained open.

    Batzeli also stressed that the amounts demanded by farmers were excessive: "given that those eligible for farming subsidies number nearly 900,000, if we gave 15,000 euros for every agricultural enterprise the total would be in the region of 13.5 billion euros," she pointed out.

    Promahonas farmers will not meet agriculture minister

    Farmers from the independent unions in the Serres prefecture, who are keeping guard at the Promahonas checkpoint for the sixth day, have decided not to meet Agricultural Developmnt Minister Katerina Batzeli on Sunday.

    During their meeting with trade unionist from the Nikea roadblock, Vangelis Boutas, the farmers decided that their common main demand is the financial one and boosting their income. Consequently, the two roadblocks and another eight from the rest of the country will not have representatives attending the meeting with the minister.

    The border checkpoint leading to and from Bulgaria will remain closed, although it opened for a few hours on Saturday morning to help decongest traffic.

    Promahonas checkpoint closed again

    Farmers of non-aligned agricultural societies in the prefecture of Serres decided shortly after 6 on Sunday evening to close the Promahonas checkpoint again.

    According to the president of the non-aligned agricultural societies of Nigrita, the farmers declare that they are displeased with the new statements by Agriculture Minister Katerina Batzeli that took place after her meeting with farmers of the Panhellenic Coordinating Body from 14 farmers' roadblocks in the country.

    As they said, farmers at Promahonas will intensify ther mobilisations and will no longer allow even the passing of private cars or of trucks carrying perishable goods to and from Promahonas. According to the president, at 8 in the morning on Monday the farmers will also close the railway line linking Greece with Bulgaria.

    [05] ND official on farmers' issue

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party Agricultural Development Political Responsibility sector chief and Kozani deputy George Kasapidis stated on Sunday that "the government of PASOK is replying with generalities and vagueness to the cry of anxiety of the agricultural population of the country."

    He further said "the leadership of the Agricultural Development Ministry is showing that it has not realised the size of the problem of the farmers and the seriousness of the situation," adding that "on the specific demands of producers there is no clear reply, no specific decision. The responsibilities for the failure of negotiations belong to the government of PASOK. We call on the prime minister himself at this last moment to remember his promises to the farmers last year during their mobilisations and to give a solution to the deadlock."

    [06] SYN, KKE leaders visit farmer road blocks

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party president Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group, visited a road block set up by protesting farmers in Alamana on Sunday and underlined his support for their cause, as well as criticising statements made by agriculture minister Katerina Batzeli in the press.

    "I felt great surprise when I read in the papers today the dismissive way that the government deals with you," Tsipras told farmers, stressing that the government should have spoken directly with the representatives of the farmers at the road blocks instead of accusing them of chasing after publicity and the cameras.

    According to Tsipras, farmers were the most "productive force in the country" and the current crisis could not be overcome if Greeks only consumed and did not produce anything. He also emphasised the problems of the official trade union structures for farmers, saying that they were part of the problem, and the failure of successive governments to ensure the smooth payment of EU subsidies to farmers because of the weaknesses of state administrative systems.

    Visits to the farmers' road blocks in Nikaia and Alamana were made on Saturday by Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga, who also expressed the KKE's support for their struggle.

    Papariga urged farmers to draw up a common set of demands and exert joint pressure on the government, while she dismissed the dialogue on farm issues starting in Athens on Monday as little more than a sham and said that the speech on farm issues made by Prime Minister George Papandreou was "provocative".

    She expressed support for the farmers decision to protest by closing roads and border crossings, saying that this was justified when they had been fighting over the same issues for the past decade.

    "If you withdraw from the road blocks you will lose everything," she stressed in Alamana, noting that the government was aware of their demands and had to answer them, while stressing that the government's policy on farming was "incorporated in the dictates and choices of the EU".

    In an interview with the newspaper "Free Sunday", Batzeli stressed that if farmers took to the roads in their tractors as a "winter tradition" every year, they would be "doing themselves an injustice and sending the wrong messages to society that watches and judges".

    [07] Deputy FM Kouvelis in Qatar

    DOHA (ANA-MPA/N. Melissova)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis, visiting the worksites of Greek companies in Qatar said "you are in the front line of entrepreneurship, exercising an extroversive policy in a crucial economic period and the Greek government wants to support your efforts with continuity and consistency."

    Kouvelis focused his attention on problems possibly faced by businessmen and employees in their work, but the general response was that the Greeks have the general acceptance of the authorities and of the local societies.

    He also asked to what extent orders for materials and equipment for projects are placed in Greece with Greek companies and was told that the Greek market could have a greater participation if its products were more competitive in prices, quality and consistency.

    [08] KKE: legalisation for all migrants, nationality for all young people

    In an announcement on Sunday, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Political Bureau has proposed the legalisation of all immigrants living and working in Greece and the granting of nationality upon adulthood to all young people in the country, if they desired it.

    The announcement was issued in response to the government's announcement of plans to facilitate the granting of Greek nationality and voting rights to legal migrants and their children.

    The party noted the problems faced by some 250,000 children of migrants that have been born or spent the larger part of their lives in Greece, noting that they have to contend with the insecurity and the minimal rights afforded to their parents, are not registered in local authority rolls, cannot obtain birth certificates and, in some cases, are unable to obtain a passport from their parents' country of origin.

    It criticises the government's draft bill, saying that this only concerns a part of the migrant population and does not deal with the migrant issue as a whole.

    Regarding the right of migrants to vote in municipal elections without having Greek nationality, KKE notes that this right is restricted to those that are ethnic Greeks, EU member-state citizens or that have long-term residence permits and does not allow them to be elected as mayor or municipal councillor.

    [09] KKE leader visits Patra

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga visited the city of Patra, western Greece, on Sunday to inaugurate the new party offices and addressed a scheduled gathering, criticising both the present PASOK government and the previous New Democracy (ND) government.

    Referring to the farmers' mobilisations, Papariga accused the government of "slandering the farmers' struggle".

    Outlining KKE's policy, she said that "we, once again, will tell the farmers, because their struggle is on a razor's edge, to prove that they have reached political conclusions and that they will not allow the government to wrap them in a piece of paper with mockeries and with terrorism on the new structure of the agricultural trade union movement."

    [10] LAOS conference on migration issues

    The Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party organised a national conference on the issue of migration in Athens on Sunday. The conference was on the issue "Vote and nationality for immigrants" and the central slogan was "Greece belongs to the Greeks".

    In his speech, LAOS leader George Karatzaferis urged members of LAOS to collect as many signatures as possible in favour of holding a national referendum on this issue. He claimed that the majority of Greeks were opposed to a bill being promoted by the ruling PASOK government that will ease restrictions on giving legal migrants and their children Greek nationality and voting rights.

    [11] Tsipras: state must hold contractors to account for Tempi landslide

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party leader Alexis Tsipras, also leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group, on Sunday attacked the government, contractors and the media while attending a public debate on the major landslide that has blocked the road at Tempi and its repercussions on the area.

    Tsipras said the contractors were responsible and should fulfill their contractual obligations, while the state did not dare asked them to do this.

    "If the state accepts that the landslide was due to natural phenomena, then it is obliged to pay compensation to those afflicted, as it does in the case of fires. If not, it is obliged to demand that the construction company fulfill its obligations," he emphasised.

    Financial News

    [12] Attica residents wary of buying property, survey shows

    Residents in Attica are wary of committing to the purchase of a new home, discouraged by greater insecurity in their jobs, the difficulty of collecting the sums required during the economic crisis and keeping up with mortgage payments. This was found by a survey carried out by the Economic University of Athens statistics department that was unveiled at the 3rd International Real Estate Conference by Prof. Epaminondas Panas.

    About seven in 10 Attica residents, or 67 percent, consider it unlikely that they will purchase a residence in the next two years, while nearly eight in 10 (77 percent) consider unlikely the purchase of a holiday home.

    Those responding cited job insecurity and difficulty in collecting the money as the two main obstacles to purchasing real estate. Some 40 percent also cited "conviction that the government charges high tax on real estate" as a reason for avoiding property purchases, while 64 percent believe they would not be able to keep up with mortgage payments on a housing loan.

    The survey was carried out using a sample of 1,046 people aged 18 or above and resident in Attica between December 29, 2009 and January 14, 2010.

    Nearly half of those responding (47 percent) believe that house prices will rise in the next five years. Regarding the value of their own property in the next 12 months, 38.5 percent considers that the price will remained unchanged.

    More than four in 10 of those asked consider that the main factor that will determine the course of the real estate market in the next 12 months will be the general economic state of the country, while the second most important factor will be the state of the job market.

    Asked whether now was a good time to buy real estate in Greece, almost half of those asked said 'no', especially those aged 30-44 years old, farmers and the unemployed.

    General News

    [13] Cold front grips Greece

    Most of Greece was gripped by a cold front sweeping down from the north on Sunday, bringing ice and snow and below-zero temperatures in several areas throughout the country.

    Dozens of villages in Fthiotida were snow-bound on Saturday, with prefecture machinery unable to clear all roads of falling snow, while snow-chains were needed at higher altitudes in several parts of the country, especially in the north.

    At 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, temperatures had sunk as low as -2C in Kastoria, -5C in Kozani, -9C in Florina and were reported to be as low as -11C at dawn in Vasilitsa.

    Around Attica, snowchains are needed by those heading up to the summit of Mount Parnitha after the cable car station, and on Tatoiou Avenue between the former royal estate and Katsimidi.

    [14] Defence minister at memorial service for WWII Holocaust victims

    National Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Sunday stressed that Greece was always ready to play a role for a solution in the Middle East, using peaceful means and dialogue. He was speaking at the annual memorial service for the Thessaloniki Jewish community and the 60,000 Greek Jews that fell victim to the Nazis during World War II.

    "Greece, having close ties with both Israel and with the Arab world and with the Palestinian people, is always ready to play its own diplomatic and reconciliating role in the direction of such a solution," he said.

    The minister also expressed the Greek government's deepest sorrow for the double attack on the synagogue in Chania, Crete and said the Greek state would undertake to restore the damages and to preserve the monument, along with all other Jewish monuments in the country.

    Venizelos said the fact that those behind the attack had been tracked down by the authorities was very positive and expressed certainty that the guilty parties will be punished.

    [15] Attack on PASOK offices in Ippokratous

    A group of hood-wearing men wielding petrol bombs attacked the offices of ruling PASOK at the junction of Ippokratous and Navarinou streets in central Athens, during the early hours of Sunday.

    The unidentified culprits lobbed four fire bombs at police stationed outside the party's offices at 1:40 am, which ignited in the street outside without causing damage or injuries. They then fled toward Exarchia Square and disappeared.

    [16] Prosecutor charges 44 for attack on anti-racist event

    The 44 suspects detained by police during incidents at an anti-racist event in Athens were charged by a public prosecutor on Sunday and referred to an examining magistrate. Until then, they will remain in custody.

    The prosecutor filed aggravated charges introduced the previous year for those caught breaking the law while wearing hoods or other apparel designed to conceal their identity. The charges against them include disturbing the peace, causing bodily harm, intimidation, illegal weapons possession and use.

    All 44 were arrested by police on Saturday, during incidents triggered by the supporters of an extreme right-wing organisation at the square above Panormou metro station. These had descended on an anti-racist event organised by the Ano Ambelokipi Cultural Association in the square and attacked those gathered there with wooden sticks and other objects, injuring a 50-year-old woman.

    [17] Protest against road tolls at Malgara, Thessaloniki

    Hundreds of motorists were allowed through the Malgara toll post in Thessaloniki free of charge on Sunday as a result of a nationwide protest against tollposts that lasted roughly two hours.

    The group "High Prices Stop" picketed the toll posts and encouraged motorists not to pay the 2.00 euro toll to the construction contractor, demanding that the government curb the right of contractors to raise tolls at will and to create new toll posts along the highways.

    They claim that the agreements signed with contractors lack sufficient controls to prevent them taking unfair advantage of the public using the roads, while failing to ensure a minimum level of service on toll roads for the money paid and also failing to provide safe and credible alternative routes for those that cannot or do not want to pay the tolls.

    [18] Gamekeeper shot by poachers resisting arrest

    A gamekeeper was lightly injured in the hand when a poacher fired on him using a shotgun in a bid to escape arrest, the Central Macedonia Police headquarters announced on Sunday. The incident occurred on Saturday night in the area of Strymonas in Macedonia, leading to the arrest of one man.

    The gamekeeper and his partner were patrolling in the location Psyhiko when they saw a group of three poachers hunting off-season, two on the river using a boat and a third on the shore.

    Two of the poachers, one aged 27 and the second aged 40, resorted to violence in order to avoid arrest and the second of these opened fire, injuring the gamekeeper in the hand. The two then fled and are being sought for weapons violations, causing grievous bodily harm and resisting arrest.

    A third man, aged 20, was arrested and the gamekeepers confiscated a shotgun, 356 cartridges, two electronic night scopes and 18 dead ducks.

    [19] Man arrested with 12 kg of hashish

    Police in the city of Patra, in the Peloponnese, are on the tracks of a ring importing drugs from Albania and selling them in the prefectures of Achaia and Attica, following the arrest of a 33-year-old foreign national in possession of over 12 kilos of hashish. The arrest was carried out after police presented themselves as interested buyers.

    [20] Burglars break open ATM machine

    Burglars broke into a confectionery store located on the Athens-Corinth motorway late on Friday night and, opening a hole in a wall, entered a room giving them access to an ATM machine belonging to Alpha Bank. After destroying its alarm system they managed to open it with a blow torch and stole an unspecified amount of cash.

    Soccer

    [21] Panathinaikos widens Super League lead

    Panathinaikos Athens was held to a 0-0 draw away by tough Aris Thessaloniki over the weekend but widened its lead at the top of the Greek Super League standings after Olympiacos Piraeus lost 1-0 at home from PAOK Thessaloniki, while AEK Athens beat PAS Yiannina 3-1.

    In other action:

    Asteras Tripoli-Panionios Athens 2-0

    Ergotelis Crete-Levadiakos Livadia 1-0

    Larissa-Iraklis Thessaloniki 2-1

    Atromitos Athens-Kavala 2-0

    Panthrakikos Komotini-Xanthi 1-1

    Standings after 19 weeks of play:

    1. Panathinaikos 48 points

    2. Olympiacos 40

    3. PAOK 40

    4. Aris 32

    5. Asteras 29

    6. AEK 29

    7. Atromitos 26

    8. Ergotelis 25

    9. Kavala 24

    10. Panionios 24

    11. Xanthi 22

    12. Larissa 21

    13. Iraklis 19

    14. PAS Yiannina 18

    15. Levadiakos 16

    16. Panthrakikos 3

    Weather Forecast

    [22] Cloud, snow or sleet on Monday

    Cloudy weather with light snowfall or sleet and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Monday, with wind velocity reaching 3-8 beaufort. Temperatures will range between -11C and 11C. Cloudy with light snowfall or sleet in Athens, with northerly 4-7 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 1C to 6C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from -3C to 2C.

    [23] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance

    The economy, the fiscal crisis, slashed benefits for civil servants and farmer protests were the main front-page items in Athens' Sunday newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Who loses and how much from the cutbacks in benefits".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Shock changes for civil servants".

    AVGHI: "Alexis Tsipras: Time of responsibility for all of us".

    AVRIANI: "Antonis Samaras threatens rebels with expulsion".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "'We are not giving ourselves to anyone,' Antonis Samaras message to recipients within and outside New Democracy".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Karamanlis thanks Christoforakos" [reveals letter from former prime minister Costas Karamanlis to main Siemens kickbacks case suspect Michalis Christoforakos, thanking him for his support after the 2004 elections].

    EPOCHI: "Road block for the policy of recession and unemployment. Social eruptions begin".

    ETHNOS: "Pangalos bombshells. The restoration of the economy will be a terrible ordeal. There is no plan B...if we fail, we are ruined".

    KATHIMERINI: "Fiscal crisis strangling markets".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Universal militant action for the strike on February 10 with PAME".

    LOGOS: "Between the tractors...and the deficit! The government caught between the Clashing Rocks of the economy and the farmer protests".

    NIKI: "Fears that major earthquakes are coming. Richter in Brussels frighten Greece".

    PARON: "Instead of him, Borissov! Unheard of. The Bulgarian prime minister came to open the road blocks".

    REALNEWS: "The threat of bankruptcy and Athens' reaction. Nightmare!".

    TO VIMA: "The 'Titanic' Syndrome. Government caught between farmers and markets as the country threatened with bankruptcy".

    VRADYNI: "Civil servants lose up to 750 euros".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [24] Christofias says he has the necessary will to address Turkish intransigence

    LARNACA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Cyprus President Demetris Christofias said on Sunday that despite all difficulties he faces in efforts for a Cyprus settlement he has the necessary will to address the Turkish intransigence so that the necessary preconditions are met to reach the soonest possible a mutually accepted settlement and a state with one and single sovereignty, citizenship and international personality at which the people of Cyprus will live peacefully.

    Christofias also said that he has ensured that no foreign plans for a Cyprus settlement will be presented at the negotiating table adding that "we want and pursue the help of the international community".

    Christofias noted that "there are international aspects of the Cyprus problem and the international community has the duty to look into these aspects and help us solve them, given the fact that Cyprus is a small state and has not have the power by itself to solve such issues."

    He said that the fact that the negotiating process "is owned by the Cypriots does not mean that we do not want the help of the international community."

    Christofias said that the "violation of the international law and the presence of occupation troops, the violation of Cyprus people human rights and the presence of thousand of settlers in Cyprus, the issues of guarantees and security constitute international aspects of the Cyprus problem and the international community has the duty to look into these issues and help us solve them, given that Cyprus is a small state and cannot by itself, does not have the power it self to solve these issues."

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.

    [25] Cyprus ready to welcome the appointment of a special envoy by US President

    The Republic of Cyprus will welcome the appointment of a special envoy by US President Barack Obama, President Christofias has said.

    "If Mr. Obama decides to appoint a special representative he will be most welcomed. Provided that the US policy will respect the Republic of Cyprus and will contribute to a just and viable settlement we will welcome such a representative," he added.

    He also noted that members of the Greek American leadership in the US have already discussed this issue with President Obama's aides.

    [26] Government welcomes Russian FM's statements on Cyprus

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    The Cyprus government has welcomed statements by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, noting that they have proven once again Russia's fervent interest in the question of Cyprus.

    Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou noted over the weekend that Lavrof reiterated the positions of the Russian Federation on the Cyprus question that are based on principles and particularly on the UN Security Council resolutions.

    Furthermore he said that Lavrov reiterated the Russian Federation's support to the ongoing negotiating process in Cyprus between Cyprus

    President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat with a view to reach a mutually agreed settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    "Lavrov also reiterated the Russian Federation's support to the tactic followed during the negotiations", Stephanou said describing also as

    "important his statement about Russia's insistence that the Cyprus problem must be solved without any arbitration, without any pressures from outside and without any artificial timetables."

    Stephanou thanked the Russian Federation for its clear positions of principle on the Cyprus questions, noting the fact that Russia is a UN Security Council Permanent Member with an important role in the international political scene.

    Responding to questions the spokesman said that the Cyprus government cannot accept the exertion of pressures and that the settlement should come from the Cypriots for the Cypriots, adding that this does not mean that Turkey has no responsibilities and that the international community cannot play a role in efforts to reach a settlement.

    Stephanou underlined that the EU and other powerful countries must exert pressure on Turkey to change its stance and work towards the right direction for a Cyprus settlement "on the basis of the UN resolutions, the international and European law principles, the 1977 and 1979 High Level Agreements providing for a bizonal-bicommunal federation."

    Christofias and Talat have been engaged in direct negotiations since September 2008 with a view to solve the problem of Cyprus divided since the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974. The first round of intensive talks took place January 11-13, 2010, while the second round will take place January 25-27.

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


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