• Cyprus President to address PACE next week in Strasbourg

    President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades will address next Tuesday, January 24, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), in Strasbourg.

    Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasolides will also be present, while a day earlier will deliver a speech at the Assembly, in the context of the Cypriot Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers.

    According to an announcement by the Council of Europe (CoE), the PACE winter plenary part-session will be held in Strasbourg from January 23 to 27, 2017 debating the attacks against journalists and media freedom in Europe, the challenges and accountability of online media and journalism, and the need to end cyberdiscrimination and online hate speech.

    There have also been requests for an urgent debate on developments in Turkey and Syria. Other debates will concentrate on the functioning of democratic institutions in Ukraine and the situation in Lebanon.

    President of Romania Klaus Iohannis, European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy Johannes Hahn and Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland will also address the Assembly.

    According to a draft schedule, during the first day of the session the President and the Vice-Presidents of PACE will be elected, while members will approve the minutes of proceedings of the Standing Committee, that convened last November in Nicosia.

    The Republic of Cyprus assumed last November the Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe for the fifth time in the fifty five years since its accession to the Organization. Foreign Minister Kasoulides will chair Committee of Ministers` sessions until May 2017.

    CNA/AGK/GV/2016
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

  • Greek PM: Probably the last chance to resolve the Cyprus problem

    This is probably the last chance to resolve the Cyprus problem, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has said, adding that “we must keep open a window of hope for a solution,” despite the fact that the present circumstances are not the best possible.

    Replying to a question during a briefing to the press at the conclusion of the EU Summit in Brussels, Tspiras said “I think we need to keep open a window of opportunity and hope for a solution in Cyprus.”

    “The timing”, the Prime Minister noted, “and the conditions are not the best possible”. Tsipras explained that the agenda in the relations between Turkey and Europe is negative and there is an escalation of tension from Turkey especially after July’s attempted coup in the country. He also said that Ankara makes, in many opportunity, unacceptable statements that challenge international treaties.

    He noted however that on the other hand, “there is a positive momentum because both Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci want a solution and they want it sincerely”.

    He expressed the view that this is perhaps the last chance for a solution because, as he said, if another decade elapses, future generations on the island will not have memories of common coexistence between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and therefore the notion which argues that there is no reason to change the current situation will be consolidated.

    “This is a very important opportunity for the EU to have finally a success story and for this reason, President Anastasiades and I have asked Europe to take an active role,” he added.

    “Cyprus is now an EU member-state. It is not a third country that negotiates with Turkey,” Tsipras pointed out.

    He added that a possible solution in Cyprus would have a positive impact on the region, but also on the crucial Euro-Turkish agreement in relation to refugee flows.

    “We have clearly defined the red lines. There can be no solution under the anachronistic guarantees system of the 1960s and no solution if Turkey insists on its unreasonable demand to maintain Turkish troops on the island,” he said.

    Furthermore, he said, “we made it clear to the EU that such a scenario would not only be bad for Greece and Cyprus, but also for Europe itself, which is likely to have a member state at the table along with the other 27 members, which is under the continuous threat by the Turkish troops.”

    Tsipras said it was also clarified and the EU member states agreed that great efforts must be made to reach a viable solution. “I believe that we will see that in the coming days,” he added. He expressed hope that Turkey will no longer insist on being intransigent. “We want to have a way out and we will fight for it,” he said.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN brokered talks resumed in May 2015 aiming to reunify the island under a federal roof.

    Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci decided on December 1 that they will meet in Geneva on January 9, 2017. On January 11 they will present their respective maps relating to the territory chapter and on January 12 a Conference on Cyprus will be convened with the added participation of the guarantor powers (Greece, Turkey and the UK), while other relevant parties shall be invited as needed.

    CNA/THA/TNE/MM/2016
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

  • UK has not yet decided on representation at the UN-led Cyprus peace talks in Geneva

    A senior British government official has said that the UK has a special role to play in the forthcoming talks in Geneva regarding the security and guarantees in Cyprus, but added that a decision on the level of representation has not yet been taken.

    “I don’t think that decisions about attendance at Geneva have yet been made; but we will approach that in the context of how we can best support the process there and the opportunity that stands before us to finally settle this issue,” the official has told the Cyprus News Agency in London.

    As she added, the UK is a firm supporter of finding a settlement in Cyprus, as one of the three guarantor powers (the other two are Greece and Turkey). “We have sought to do what we can to support that UN-led process and we will continue to do so.”

    Asked about London’s position with regard to Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades’ call for all five permanent members of the UN Security Council to participate in next month’s multi-party conference, the official underlined that the UK “has a particular role to play as one of the guarantors.”

    Adding that it is a UN-led process and that the Prime Minister discussed it with the UN Secretary-General in New York in September, the British government official noted: “We will then want to look at what they think will best lead to a successful resolution and how we can support that.”

    On December 1st, President Anastasiades, and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı met in Nicosia and assessed the state of play of the UN-led negotiations and exchanged views on the way forward.

    In line with their joint resolve to reach a comprehensive settlement as soon as possible, they decided that they will meet in Geneva on the 9th of January 2017.

    `On the 11th of January, they will present their respective maps. From the 12th of January, a Conference on Cyprus will be convened with the added participation of the guarantor powers. Other relevant parties shall be invited as needed” a UN statement on the meeting said.

    The latest round of UN-led peace talks began in May last year with a view to finding a negotiated settlement that would reunited Cyprus, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.
    CNA/TG/MM/2016
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

  • Residential building permits decline 0.3pct ten months into 2016

    Building permits for residential construction woks in Romania declined 0.3 percent in the first ten months of 2016, y-o-y, to 33,462, according to data released on Monday by the National Statistics Institute (INS).

    “January 1 — October 31, 2016, 33,462 building permits were issued for residential construction works, down 0.3 percent compared to January 1 — October 31, 2015, as reflected in the development regions : Sud-Est (-562 permits), Sud-Muntenia (-409), Nord-Est (-303), Bucharest-Ilfov (-190) and Sud-Vest Oltenia (-49). Building permits for residential construction works were up in the following regions: Nord-Vest (+685 permits), Vest (+439) and Centru (+304),” according to INS.

    In October 2016, 3,415 permits for residential construction works were issued, 55.2 percent of which was in the countryside.

    A breakdown by regions of the October 2016 figures as against October 2015 indicates a rise in permits for residential construction works in Bucharest-Ilfov (+264 permits), Nord-Vest (+119), Nord-Est (+30), Vest (+16) and Centru (+15). More…

  • UNSG in Mont-Pelerin for intensified Cyprus talks on territory issue

    UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon arrived at 0915 local time at the Le Mirador Resort and Spa in Mont-Pelerin, where intensified negotiations between Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci on the territory issue and all other outstanding issues interdependently kick off today, in the framework of UN-led talks aiming to solve the Cyprus problem.

    Ban was welcomed at the venue by his Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide and his Special Representative in Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar.

    A meeting between Ban and the two leaders was scheduled to begin at 0940 local time. At 1010 Ban will make remarks to the press.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Anastasiades and Akinci have been engaged in UN-led talks since May last year, with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof.

    CNA/MK/ΜΜ/2016
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

  • Cyprus’ economy recovering but still fragile, Commissioner Moscovici says

    Cyprus’ economy is recovering, however it is still fragile, with risks linked to both the weak external environment and domestic imbalances, European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Pierre Moscovici has said.

    Speaking to a group of Cypriot journalists attending a seminar in Brussels on Tuesday on “Single Market: Tax Justice and Tax Fair Competition”, Moscovici referred also to Greece, noting that the Commission’s wish is to strike a deal by the end of the year in relation to the Greek debt “with IMF on board”.

    The Commissioner, referring to Cyprus, pointed out that the key issues remain its level of private debt and non-performing loans. The high private debt weighs on consumption and on the ability of businesses to invest and grow, he said.

    “It is one of the reasons why Cypriot banks are burdened with the highest level of non-performing loans in Europe,” he explained. This, he added, limits the lending capacity of banks, weighs on their profitability and ultimately on their capital adequacy. It is therefore vital to implement and ensure the full effectiveness of the insolvency and foreclosure framework, improving them where necessary, he said.

    The Commissioner acknowledged the fact that the country has made significant progress during the programme, saying that Cyprus downsized and stabilised its financial sector, consolidated its public finances and initiated major structural reforms. Of course, he stressed further, “we know that this necessary adjustment had a high social cost”.

    Today, he went on to add, Cyprus` economy is recovering, thanks to strong tourism activity and private consumption, and supported by declining prices. However, he made it clear that the recovery is still fragile, with risks linked to both the weak external environment and domestic imbalances and pointed out that to improve growth and employment prospects, Cyprus needs to complete the pending structural reforms as well as implement fully the Action Plan for Growth.

    On the fiscal front, he said that Cyprus may have a primary surplus of 2% of GDP in 2016. It is crucial that this prudent fiscal stance is maintained in the coming years in order to bring down public debt from its currently high level. Cyprus is out of the programme and its excessive deficit procedure has been closed, he added, noting that nonetheless fiscal risks remain significant, there is no room for complacency and fiscal discipline should be maintained.

    Furthermore, Moscovici made special reference to unemployment in Cyprus, noting that it is decreasing, and could fall to about 12% by the end of this year.

    “This is good news, though the still very high youth and long-term unemployment call for strong and targeted employment policies,” he noted.

    The EU Commissioner noted that Cyprus has tremendous growth potential, pointing out however that it still needs to implement some key reforms in order to unlock that potential. “Much remains to be done to modernise public administration, improve the business environment and the enforcement of property rights, attract foreign investors through privatisation, and stimulate innovation. These reforms are necessary for Cyprus to fully reap the benefits of difficult adjustment of the last few years and to secure strong economic foundations for the future,” he said.

    Greek deal by end 2016?
    ———
    Invited to comment on Greece’s progress, the Commissioner said that “progress is being made” and expressed the belief that a Grexit should be avoided. Today, he said, “we have no fear for a Grexit.”

    “We are at the beginning of a success story. My wish and the Commission’s wish is to find a global deal with IMF on board as to public debt this year… We are on the way but of course there is much to be done” he said.

    CNA/GV/MM/2016
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

  • EnviroDay Fair 2016: Increasing awareness about importance of air quality

    SARAJEVO, 17. avgusta (FENA) - Izložba o temi praćenja kvalitete zraka u Bosni i Hercegovini kroz istoriju, koju su povodom PriroDana 2016 organizirali Sarajevo Film Festival (SFF), Program Ujedinjenih nacija (UN) za okoliš, Delegacija Evropske unije (EU) u BiH, EU Info centar, Regionalni centar za obrazovanje i informiranje iz održivog razvoja za jugoistočnu Evropu te Ministarstvo prostornog uređenja, građenja i zaštite okoliša Kantona Sarajevo (KS), otvorena je danas u Sarajevu. Foto FENA/Emir BurlovicSARAJEVO, August 17 (FENA) – “EnviroDay Fair 2016” was held today at Wilson’s promenade in Sarajevo, organized by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the Sarajevo Film Festival.

    “At this year’s fair we have about 15 exhibitors who will organize various educational workshops on air quality for children that will have an opportunity to see different instruments for measuring air quality,” told FENA a representative of UNEP Amina Omićević.

    She also added that a showcase of healthy food will also be held, as well as a competition in slow cycling.

  • The 20th anniversary of post-war opening of Sarajevo International Airport

    Promocija dokumentarnog filma "Reborn" povodom otvaranja Sarajevskog aerodromaSARAJEVO, August 16 (FENA) – The Sarajevo International Airport today marked the 20th anniversary of the opening of civilian air traffic at the airport after the war with the official promotion of the documentary film “Reborn”.

    The film “Reborn” by Edita Sulejmanović, shows in a retrospective the past 20 years of operation of the Sarajevo Airport, and puts the emphasis on its rebirth and ambitious development toward being a reputable company.

    Managing director of the Sarajevo International Airport and his longtime employee Armin Kajmaković, who himself participated in the reconstruction, in his address to the many guests recalled the past, and the time when after the end of aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina began the reconstruction of the then completely destroyed and devastated airport.

    “We are aware of the fact that the continuous development must be a guiding principle in the business of the Sarajevo International Airport, and I am pleased to say that twenty years later this company records new successes, and our work commitment has been recognized by many, and this airport has once again become one of the most frequent destinations for hundreds of thousands of travelers from around the world,” stressed Kajmaković.

    He said that the airport for the past 20 years has recorded success, and it is experiencing a turning point in terms of development, but also breaking new records. Positive results are expected in the coming months, and, when it comes to passengers, at the end of this year the airport expects to exceed the number of 800,000 passengers.

    Photo: FENA

  • Rio 2016: Romanian swimmer Glinta advances to 100-m backstroke final

    Romanian swimmer Robert Glinta, 19, on Sunday evening advanced to the men’s 100-m backstroke final of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games, as he finished fourth in semifinal 2, clocked in at 53.34s.

    The best result of semifinal 2 was US David Plummer’s 52.50s; second best was Australian Mitch Larkin’s 52.70s, while French Camile Lacourt ended third, in 52.72s.

    The best four times in semifinal 1 were recorded by US Ryan Murphy — 52.49s, Chinese Xu Jiayu — 52.73s and Russian Evgheny Rylov — 52.84s, who advanced to the final of the event scheduled for August 9. More…

  • Cyprus leaders hold new meeting in framework of UN-led talks

    Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci meet on Friday, in the framework of the UN-led talks on the Cyprus problem. This is their first meeting after the recent coup attempt in Turkey, whose troops occupy 37% of Cyprus territory since 1974.

    In statements on Thursday, UN Secretary General`s Special Adviser on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide, said that today`s meeting will focus on the issues of governance and power sharing, some outstanding issues that he hopes the leaders can move forward on.

    Furthermore he noted that this is the fourth meeting of the leaders in July, and that two more will take place during this month. “When we come to the 29th of July, which is next Friday, we can say that the leaders now for the first time have had a strategic discussion about all issues. At that time I think it is appropriate to make an assessment where we really stand for a solution,” he noted.

    On his part, Government Spokesman, Nikos Christodoulides, the two leaders will discuss about the executive, legislative and judicial powers.

    “Through the discussion we expect to see if there is further understanding and/or convergences” he said.

    Anastasiades and Akinci have been engaged in UN-led talks since May last year, with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof.

    CNA/MK/GCH 2016
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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