|Monday, 19 February 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-05-08
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Saturday, 8 May 2010 Issue No: 3487
 Eurozone summit agrees on support mechanism for Greece, PM saysBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA)
The leaders of the Eurozone countries decided in the early hours of Saturday to activate a support mechanism for Greece, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou announced here at the end of a special summit.
A three year joint programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) makes available 110 billion euro to help Greece meet its financing needs, with euro area member-states ready to contribute for their part 80 billion euro.
Addressing reporters, Papandreou said that with the decision the eurozone countries "have shown that they stand with determination by our side," adding that the disbursement of the lown will begin in the coming days.
These funds, he added, will "help us to implement without everyday's uncertainty in the international markets, the stabilisation and growth programme for our economy."
"But the summit has shown something more, that the need to shield the eurozone relates not only to Greece's problems, but that the issue is a broader one and concerns the eurozone as a whole," Papandreou also said.
"These decisions show that we are going to work all together not to let international speculation acting without control in the markets, to take Europe out of the crisis and contribute substantially to the world economy's recovery," the Greek premier said.
 PM Papandreou at informal eurozone summitBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/N. Lionakis)
Prime Minister George Papandreou, arriving at the informal eurozone member-state summit here on Friday, said that "the Greek people have coped with the pain from the economic crisis in the past months, but people and government are absolutely determined to change path for Greece, to proceed along the path of stability and development."
Papandreou stressed that "only yesterday we took very tough measures and an adjustment package with the majority in Parliament, showing our will to move ahead and we are determined to move ahead."
He added that at the same time there is an unprecedented instability in the world economy and pointed out that for this reason the present meeting in Brussels is so important.
"We shall reconfirm our confidence in our common currency," the prime minister further said and stressed that this is a very important message for reforming the global economy, which will bring back development, employment and prosperity for the peoples, the citizens and the countries of Europe and underlined that "we can and must achieve this together."
 IMF Board meets Sunday on support to GreeceThe International Monetary Fund (IMF) Board will meet on Sunday to decide on the financial support to Greece, IMF external relations department director Caroline Atkinson said Thursday in Washington during a press briefing.
She said the measures to be implemented by Greece and the EU/IMF financial support are "aimed to help the Greek economy- to support it with this difficult adjustment and to focus on addressing the two problems that the Greek economy has been suffering from -on debt and competitiveness-- and put the economy back onto a path of strong, sustainable growth with jobs and employment down the road", and stressed that default was "not on the table".
"We are impressed by the determination of the Greek authorities, themselves, to carry through this difficult plan. Obviously, this is a very challenging situation, but we have seen a lot of determination from the authorities behind this plan," she added.
Replying to questions, Atkinson said the IMF disagreed with speculation that the bailout package cannot prevent Greece from defaulting on its debts. "Our view is that, that is quite wrong," she stressed.
"We have deliberately designed a package of financial support that gives Greece the ability to stay out of the markets for more than 18 months until 2012. If implemented, the package of the adjustments will address and it addresses both the fiscal issue and the competitiveness issue with structural reforms, and will put Greece, we believe, in a position to fully pay its debts as well as partly by allowing down the road growth, renewed growth in the Greek economy," Atkinson explained.
"There is unprecedented effort in the Greek program to address Greece's problems and also unprecedented support from European countries and the IMF," she stressed.
To another question, she noted that there are two main problems facing Greece now: the state of the public finances and competitiveness.
Greece's public finances needed consolidation, "it was not possible to go on borrowing and financing at the rate that had been the case, so that's why spending cut measures" were needed, she said, adding that, on the other hand: "The revenue raising measures include a number of measures in the tax administration and tax broadening category. These are aimed at spreading the tax burden more fairly and more evenly. And the fiscal measures also are aimed at protecting the most vulnerable in Greece's society."
"The second part of the program, which is extremely important but of course takes some time to yield results, is on the structural side where reforms aimed at opening up the economy, opening up opportunities in the Greek economy, allowing more flourishing of investment and growth are included. And that part of the program is aimed also at competitiveness and growth," Atkinson continued.
Asked whether the markets' reaction show "a level of concern and fear" that Greece may default on its debt, Atkinson replied: "As we've said many times, default is not on the table, has not been on the table. I believe that the Greek authorities themselves have repeated that, and ECB President Trichet repeated that this morning. So we don't think default is on the table. In that sense, you could say that maybe fears are an overreaction, but again, I don't particularly want to comment on the market. I just want to reaffirm that we do not see that and it's not on the table."
 US President briefed regularly on situation in GreeceWASHINGTON (ANA-MPA/T. Ellis)
US President Barack Obama "continues to be briefed regularly on the situation in Greece during his daily briefings," according to a White House announcement, adding that the President was briefed on the situation in Europe and on the markets on Thursday afternoon by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and National Economic Council Director Larry Summers.
"Secretary Geithner and his staff are also in frequent communication with our European counterparts. The Treasury Department is monitoring this very closely," the release added.
"Last Sunday, the President spoke with Prime Minister Papandreou. He welcomed the ambitious reform program announced by the Greek authorities, as well as the significant support that was agreed to by the IMF and Eurozone members. The two leaders discussed the importance of implementation going forward," the release said, adding that "Secretary Geithner and President Obama have been in contact with European leaders on the situation in Greece throughout the past several weeks."
The White House statement further noted: "When Prime Minister Papandreou was in Washington in March, the President met with him on a host of issues, including the economy. The Prime Minister outlined the steps the Greek government was taking to address their fiscal challenges. They discussed continued efforts by Europe and the United States together to move forward on financial reform efforts globally."
"Greece is enacting major economic reforms with the support of the Euro-area and the IMF. This plan is designed to deliver results over the next several years. We strongly support this effort to help restore stability to Greece and confidence to the global financial system, and we will continue to communicate this to European officials," the White House concluded.
 Dora Bakoyannis expelled from ND partyFormer foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis was expelled from main opposition New Democracy (ND) on Thursday night after defying the party line and voting in favor of the government's austerity bill in parliament.
Bakoyannis was expelled from the ND parliamentary group by party leader Antonis Samaras after voting in favor of the bill in the first reading (in-principle vote). The ND Ethics Committee later expelled her from the party altogether over her stance in parliament and a statement she made in response to her expulsion from the parliamentary group.
In a statement after her expulsion from the ND parliamentary group, Bakoyannis said in a statement that there come times in a person's life when he has to choose between the convenient path of silence, compromise and expediencies and the difficult path of responsibility.
"Our country is today at the brink of economic bankruptcy and shaken by social unrest of unprecedented proportions. Thirty years of corruption, wasteful spending, irresponsibility and statism brought us to where we are today. The serious mistakes, inertia and omissions of the preceding government but also the criminal delay and cursoriness of the current government further aggravated the problems. At this time the Greek people are called on to make sacrifices, many of which are unfair, and which perhaps would not have been so extremely deep if we all had risen to the circumstances," she said.
"However, at the point we are now at, there are no longer any choices. In exchange for these sacrifices, we are offered 110 billion euros in financing so that Greece may avoid bankruptcy. And it is offered to us at a time when no one else is lending us. This is the way things stand, and no one in the political world has the right to not understand this, and especially to pretend not to understand," Bakoyannis said, adding that her proposal had been that ND vote in favor of the bill in principle, while voting against some unfair and ineffective articles, such as those for increasing VAT and reducing the incomes of the poor pensioners, which she opined could have been replaced by other measures of equal fiscal yield.
"In this critical moment, I will do my duty. I voted in favor of the bill 'measures for the implementation of the support mechanism for the Greek economy by the eurozone member countries and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)' and will vote against specific articles such as those for reduction of the pensioners' incomes and increase in VAT," Bakoyannis continued, adding that the only criterion for her actions is the interests of the country and her conscience, "and I fully assume the weight of the responsibility of my choices".
 KKE leader Papariga will not participate in party leader meetingCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga announced on Friday that she will not attend the meeting of political party leaders scheduled to take place on Monday.
Her move comes in the wake of a letter addressed to President Karolos Papoulias by Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary Group President Alexis Tsipras that he will not be participating in the meeting.
A relevant announcement by the Presidency of the Republic said that "The Secretary General of K.K.E.'s Central Committee Aleka Papariga revealed that she will not attend the meeting of the political leaders."
 Tsipras will not participate in party leader meetingRadical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary Group President Alexis Tsipras, in a letter addressed to President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, announced on Friday that he will not participate in the meeting of political party leaders on Monday, stressing among other things that "we cannot assume responsibilities for destructions which are not reversible."
Tsipras accused the government of "not heeding" the proposals made by SYRIZA and mentioned, on the occasion of Friday's confrontation in Parliament on the Finance ministry's amendment, that "personally I am unable to watch and I refuse to become a part of this degradation of institutions, values and procedures."
 Government spokesman on KKE, SYRIZABRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/N. Lionakis)
Government spokesman George Petalotis on Friday slammed the decision taken by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) not to participate in the council of political party leaders scheduled for Monday.
"At the time that Prime Minister George Papandreou and the government are waging a struggle for the country's economic salvation, at the Eurozone's Summit which is under way in Brussels and when social cohesion is extremely necessary, the KKE and SYRIZA are looking for excuses again not to participate in the council of political leaders under the President of the Republic," Petalotis said.
"Unfortunately, their only contribution to this great effort by the Greek people is once again absolute refusal as well as no respect for democratic institutions," the spokesman added.
 KNE 10th congressThe Communist Party of Greece-affiliated (KKE) youth group KNE opened its 10th congress in the Perissos district, the party's headquarters in Athens on Friday.
Delegations of 28 youth groups from European and Latin American countries as well as from Russia, India, Pakistan, the Palestine territories and Turkey have been invited to attend the congress, which will be completed on May 9.
 Ecumenical Patriarch on events in GreeceISTANBUL (ANA-MPA/A. Kourkoulas)
Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, who is "watching with great anxiety the painful upsurge in the crisis in Greece," expressed on Friday the hope for an overcoming that will bring the Greek people back to the "regular course."
Speaking to group of postgraduate tutors from the Thessaloniki University who are visiting the Patriarchate, he said that "we are suffering with the Greek people."
The Patriarch also stressed that "here at the Patriarchate we are particularly sad for the three souls that were lost, and if we take into consideration that one of the women was pregnant, four souls were lost, from a murderous action," condemning as an "inhuman act" the coldblooded breaking of the windows and the molotovs in the bank, despite the knowledge that there were people in the bank. "It is very inhuman," he concluded.
 ND on economy, inflationMain opposition New Democracy (ND) economy sector head MP Christos Staikouras on Friday criticised the economic policy followed by the government, in response to April's inflation figures, which were made public the same day.
Staikouras underlined the adverse effects suffered by real economy as a result of increased indirect taxation, adding that "combined with the salary cuts they dry up the market, increase unemployment, paralyze society and create higher inflationary pressures."
 Greek travel agents on Athens tourismGreek travel agents on Friday said the next two weeks would be crucial for the country's tourism, following violent clashes and the death of three bank employees during massive demonstrations against the government's austerity measures. Speaking to ANA, Argyro Fili, president of travel agents in Greece, urged all participants in the tourism industry to rise to the occassion despite adverse conditions.
Fili said it was not the first time the tourism industry was facing negative events undermining the image of Greek tourism abroad, but stressed that travel agents were doing their best to effectively manage the current situation. She said that significant cancellations for trips to Athens were made by individuals and not by holiday packages and noted that destination Athens did not rely on holiday packages.
 Aspis Bank changes name to TbankAspis Bank on Friday announced a general shareholders' meeting decision to change its name to Tbank, following the purchase of a 32.9 pct majority equity stake by Hellenic Postbank.
The general shareholders' meeting also approved the resignations of the bank's chief executive Christos Sorotos and its chairman D. Stavropoulos.
 CPI up 4.8 percent in AprilThe Consumer Price Index (CPI) recorded a rise of 4.8% in April 2010 as compared to April 2009, according to figures released on Friday by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (EL.STAT), while the Harmonized Index of Consumer Price Index (HICP) recorded a rise of 4.7 percent.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) in April 2010, as compared to April 2009, increased by 4.8%. A year earlier, the annual rate of change of the CPI was 1.0%.
The CPI in April 2010, as compared to March 2010, increased by 1.2%. A year earlier, the monthly rate of change of the CPI was 0.3%.
In the twelve-month period May '09- April '10 the average rate of change of the CPI was 1.9%. A year earlier, the corresponding rate of change of the CPI was 3.2%.
The Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) in April 2010, as compared to April 2009, increased by 4.7%. A year earlier, the annual rate of change of the HICP was 1.1%.
The HICP in April 2010, as compared to March 2010, increased by 1.2%. A year earlier, the monthly rate of change of the HICP was 0.4%.
In the twelve month period May '09-April '10 the annual average rate of change of the HICP was 2.0%. A year earlier, the annual average rate of change of the HICP was 3.3%.
 Greek VAT revenues up 7.8 pct in AprilThe Greek government on Friday reported a 7.8 pct increase in VAT revenues in April to 1.205 billion euros, from 1.118 billion euros in the corresponding month last year.
A Finance ministry announcement attributed this positive development to the performance of VAT declarations by small- and medium-sized enterprises and to increased demand for purchase receipts by consumers from January 1. The ministry said that a rise in VAT rates from 9 to 10 pct and from 19 to 21 pct was introduced March 15 and did not significantly affect VAT results. The ministry said the figures showed that state budget execution was progressing smoothly offering better results than originally expected.
 Trastor reports 14 pct decline in Q1 profitsTrastor AEE Real Estate Property on Friday announced a 14 pct decline in its net profits to 1.3 million euros in the first quarter of 2010, from 1.5 million euros in the corresponding period in 2009.
Rent income grew 9.0 pct to 1.9 million euros in the January-March period, while operating spending rose to 600,000 euros, from 300,000 euros last year, reflecting higher personnel spending. Trastor said the value of its real estate assets rose 11 pct to 107 million euros, while long-term loans totaled 8.5 million euros. The company's internal value totaled 107.6 million euros, or 1.96 euros per share, down from 2.05 euros at the end of 2009 reflecting dividend payment.
 Stocks plunge 12.8% in weekStocks ended sharply lower in the Athens Stock Exchange hit by a jump of Greek bond spreads to new record highs and an international market turmoil on fears of a contagion of the Greek debt crisis. The composite index fell 2.86 pct to 1,630.47 points, for a net loss of 12.81 pct in the week. Turnover was a moderate 171.119 million euros.
The FTSE 20 index fell 3.12 pct, the FTSE 40 index dropped 4.19 pct and the FTSE 80 index eased 1.89 pct. The Utilities (0.99 pct) and Food (0.92 pct) sectors scored gains, while Health (7.91 pct), Telecoms (5.18 pct) and Chemicals (5.12 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 137 to 30 with another 47 issues unchanged. FHL Mermeren (9.78 pct), Eltrak (9.46 pct0 and Vardas (5.88 pct) were top gainers, while Euroholdings (13.33 pct), Elfico (12.96 pct0, Alapis (11.54 pct) and Hellenic Fish Farmings (11.11 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -5.73%
Personal & Household: -5.44%
Raw Materials: -4.18%
Travel & Leisure: -1.40
Food & Beverages: +0.92%
Financial Services: -0.15%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, Alpha Bank and Coca Cola.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 4.87
Public Power Corp (PPC): 13.10
HBC Coca Cola: 17.50
Hellenic Petroleum: 7.61
National Bank of Greece: 10.36
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 4.81
Bank of Piraeus: 4.72
 Greek bond market closing reportThe Greek electronic secondary bond market remained inactive for one more session on Friday. The Bank of Greece said the 10-year benchmark bond yielded 8.58, with the spread against the 10-year German Bund rising to 584 basis points.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.22 pct, the six-month rate 0.95 pct, the three-month 0.64 pct and the one-month rate 0.40 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe June contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -2.57 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Friday, with turnover a low 67.870 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 14,079 contracts worth 55.531 million euros, with 31,468 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 15,322 contracts worth 12.339 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (6,277), followed by Eurobank (1,241), OPAP (1,001), Piraeus Bank (876), Alpha Bank (1,890), ATEbank (429), and Mytilineos (355).
 Foreign Exchange rates - Saturday/MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.284
Pound sterling 0.874
Danish kroner 7.503
Swedish kroner 9.841
Japanese yen 118.78
Swiss franc 1.425
Norwegian kroner 8.017
Canadian dollar 1.333
Australian dollar 1.446
 EU conference on Forest Protection held on RhodesAn EU Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe ended on the Greek island of Rhodes on Thursday, with delegates calling for reinforcement of resources for the prevention of fires and the establishment of an independent EU financing agency for protection of forests.
The 3-day conference, organised by the Greek environment, energy and climate change ministry's Forest and Natural Environment Development and Protection Directorate, focused on risk assessment of forest fires and innovative strategies for their prevention, was attended by more than 80 representatives of agencies and organisations involved in international forestry policy from 20 EU countries, including the CEPF, USSE, Forest Europe, the EU's Joint Research Center and FAO.
A greeting from deputy minister Thanos Moraitis noted that the Greek environment ministry, having placed forest protection, their institutional shielding, activation of the society of the citizens and vigilance by the state services very high in its priorities, believes that forest fire prevention has broader dimensions that exceed the national borders and take on a European dimension.
 Hellenism honours memory of its Mauthausen victimsVIENNA (ANA-MPA/D. Dimitrakoudis)
Hellenism will honour the memory of the 3,700 Greeks who were the victims of Nazi brutality, during World War 2, on Sunday at the former installations of the Nazi concentration and extermination camp at Mauthausen in Upper Austria, with a religious service, speeches, the laying of weaths and the presentation of the musical work by Mikis Theodorakis "Mauthausen."
The event to be held at the Greek monument of Mauthausen, on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp, will be attended by representatives of Greek and Cypriot services in Austria, headed by the ambassador of Greece Panayiotis Zografos, mass agencies and members of the expatriate community.
 Spirou continues Hagia Sophia initiativeA liturgy at the Hagia Sophia Cathedral in Istanbul on Friday, Sept. 17, on the occasion of the Orthodox feast day of Sophia, remains the goal of the International Congregation of Agia Sophia, whose president, Chris Spirou, spoke at a press conference in Thessaloniki on Friday.
Spirou, a noted New Hampshire Democratic leader and long-time activist for Greek national issues in the United States, also said that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already been notified in writing.
The US-based group was founded in 2005 and its purpose is to restore the Hagia Sophia Cathedral in Istanbul as a place of worship for all the world's Christians. The organisation's thousands of members worldwide include followers of other religions and denominations.
 Illegal migrants arrested in NW GreeceTwo Iraqi nationals were arrested in Igoumenitsa, extreme northwest Greece, after police found in their cars 10 illegal migrants, all Iraqis, destined for Germany. The alleged smugglers and the illegal migrants, including three minors, were spotted at a remote area near the port of Igoumenitsa waiting to board a ferry to Italy.
The would-be migrants presented fake Dutch passports and driver's licenses to police and maintained that they had agreed to pay to smugglers 2,500 euros each.
In a separate incident, seven Afghan illegal migrants, four of them without passports, were found in a truck after its Serb driver notified police that he heard noise inside the cargo compartment while driving on the Ioannina-Athens national motorway.
 Robbery suspects testifyOne of the two gunmen arrested last Monday night in the downtown Keramikos district of Athens, after bloody robbery at a nearby department store, testified before an examining judge on Friday.
A store employee was shot and injured during the robbery.
Aris Sirinidis still faces only misdemeanor charges for illegal weapons possession and resisting authority, although he was called to testify before the examining magistrate as he will be tried with accomplice Simeon Seisidis, who is facing felony charges for attempted manslaughter and illegal weapons possession.
While providing testimony, Sirinidis was served with an arrest warrant charging him with attempted manslaughter during a shooting attack on a bus carrying riot police in Athens in July 2009. Sirinidis' DNA was identified as that of the perpetrators.
According to police, Sirinidis' DNA was found on a surgical mask recovered at the scene of the attack. He will testify before an examining judge on Wednesday.
Both suspects are also under investigation for terrorism-related activities.
 Cloudy on SaturdayCloudy weather and variable winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Saturday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 10C and 28C. Slightly cloudy in Athens, with variable 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 14C to 27C. Cloudy and rainy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 12C to 23C.
 The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe expulsions of MPs from ruling PASOK main opposition New Democracy (ND) for disobeying party orders in the vote on the austerity measures bill, and the violent incidents that occurred in downtown Athens during a protest against the measures in which three bank employees died when their bank was torched, dominated the headlines on Friday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Expulsions day - Main opposition ND leader Antonis Samaras expels former Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis from the party".
APOGEVMATINI: "Dora Bakoyannis was expelled after her decision to differentiate herself from the party line in parliament and voted in favor of the government's austerity measures".
AVGHI: "Final countdown for the measures and the political system - Rifts in government and ND from the vote on Thursday in parliament on the austerity measures".
AVRIANI: "The country's political system is collapsing".
ELEFTHEROS: "First cracks in the two mainstream parties".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Dora's apostasy with the IMF as the alibi - The former minister gave vote of confidence to PASOK's disastrous policy".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Clash with beheadings"
ESTIA: "Greece is at an economic, political and social impasse".
ETHNOS: "Ratification...with collateral damage".
IMERISSIA: "The crisis is spreading - Increase in spreads, fall of euro - EU Summit on Friday - Panic on Wall Street".
KATHIMERINI: "Yes to IMF's plan with rifts - Bakoyannis was expelled from ND and three other MPs from PASOK".
LOGOS: "Cockfights in parliament on who embezzled most, while citizens held a sit-down protest outside parliament".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Parliament ratified the support mechanism but with casualties".
NIKI: "Expulsions - Deaths - Terrorism - PASOK deeply injured by IMF's austerity demands".
RIZOSPASTIS: "They executed the popular conquests in cold blood in parliament".
TA NEA: "Strong turbulence and beheading of MPs - Parliament: 172 'yes' votes to the austerity package".
TO VIMA: "IMF storm struck Athens and ...ND - Crucial decisions on Friday in Brussels (EU summit)".
VRADYNI: "Government of limited liability - Greece formally becomes an IMF and EU protectorate".
 Foreign Minister says Turkey directly responsible for FamagustaNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Minister of Foreign Affairs Marcos Kyprianou said on Friday that the issue of Famagusta and the return of the fenced-off town to its legitimate citizens was an issue that was not related to talks to solve the Cyprus problem but was a direct responsibility of Turkey, adding that the government was in close cooperation and contact with the Famagusta Municipality to promote the issue.
Speaking after a meeting with a delegation from the Famagusta Municipality, headed by Mayor Alexis Galanos, Kyprianou said that, since the issue of Famagusta was the responsibility of Turkey, the change in the leadership of the Turkish Cypriot community should not change prospects for a settlement of the issue, adding that anywhere the Turkish army is involved there are complications and a negative approach.
Kyprianou said the government and the Famagusta Municipality are promoting a campaign for the town and that regular meetings facilitate coordination.
''The issue of Famagusta and the return of the fenced-off area to its inhabitants is not only a confidence building measure. It is also an issue not related to the talks but a direct responsibility of Turkey,'' he said, pointing out that this has been recorded in UN and European Parliament resolutions and in reports by the UN Secretary General.
Kyprianou said that ''since 1979 it has been acknowledged by the other side as well that the issue of Famagusta is a separate issue and must and can be promoted separately.''
Replying to questions, Kyprianou said that ''since it is the responsibility of Turkey, the change in the leadership in the occupied areas should not change the prospects for a solution of this issue.''
''Turkey was and continues to be negative in this issue and this is an obligation, among others, that it refuses to meet,'' Kyprianou said, adding that ''this is not something that concerns the Turkish Cypriots but Turkey and of course the Turkish army, and wherever the Turkish army is involved, there are complications and a negative approach.''
Kyprianou pointed out that ''this is the challenge for the international community, which has already recognised, through the UN and the European Parliament, that it is the responsibility of Turkey and can be promoted separately,'' he concluded.
Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
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