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Vasa Koilaniou Village                                  Photo ©

29 October 2017

1. Greece and Turkey to discuss issues affecting the Cyprus problem before talks resume

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias has described as a "positive step" the fact that his Turkish counterpart Mehmet Cavusoglu, has requested that Greece and Turkey discuss issues relating to the Cyprus problem before any future resumption of negotiations. Speaking during a press briefing yesterday, Kotzias said that it was something that the Greek side has already proposed in the past, in order for both parts to be better prepared for a new effort. At the same time he  announced that Turkish President, Recep Tayip Erdogan will pay Greece an official visit probably at the end of November or early December.

2. Cyprus fully up to date on measures against money laundering, Nicosia says

The Republic of Cyprus has adopted all international measures against the legalisation of income from illegal activities and the relevant Cypriot legislation is strict and in certain areas stricter than the legislation in place in other countries, the Ministry of Justice says in a press release. The press release was a reaction of the ministry to a report in the “The Times” over claims against Cyprus that it is in breach of rules for the legalisation of income derived from illegal activities. According to Nicosia, the measures implemented by the Republic of Cyprus, both legislative and in practice, are reviewed by the Moneyval Committee of the Council of Europe, the counterpart of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and its reports are published in the Council of Europe’s website.

3. Cyprus problem a European issue, Greece`s President says

Greece`s President, Prokopis Pavlopoulos has reiterated that the Cyprus problem is a European and international one, adding that Greece demands that a solution is reached immediately. Pavlopoulos was speaking during an event, on Thursday, in Thessaloniki, Greece. He noted that there can be no solution which would include diminished sovereignty, occupation troops and third-party guarantees.

4. President congratulates Ardern, thanks her for New Zealand’s position on Cyprus

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has send new Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern a message, congratulating her for the assumption of her duties and expressing Nicosia’s “deepest appreciation” for the country’s principled stance and support of the efforts to reach a Cyprus solution. In his message he also recalls that the two countries, “enjoy a long-standing friendship and cooperate closely in multilateral fora, including the Commonwealth and the United Nations.” and says he looks forward "to working with you to deepen our bilateral relations in an array of areas and to expanding our cooperation to the benefit of our peoples.”

5. UNFICYP`s continued presence is indispensable, Cyprus says

Nicosia believes that the continued presence of UNFICYP is indispensable as long as foreign occupation of almost 37% of the island’s territory persists, First Secretary at the Delegation of the Republic of Cyprus to the United Nations Michael Mavros has stressed. He also said that the UN remains the forum through which a settlement can be achieved and should be at the forefront of efforts to reunite Cyprus. In his address at the 72nd Session of the 4th Committee of the UN General Assembly on  “Comprehensive Review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects”, Mavros said that Cyprus strongly believes in the vital role of UN peacekeeping missions around the world.

6. Deposits and loans record drop in September, Central Bank data show

Both deposits and loans recorded a drop in September 2017, according to data of the Central Bank of Cyprus, on Thursday. Total deposits in local banks recorded a net drop of €164.9 million in September reaching €49 billion compared with a net increase of €427 million in August, the Central Bank says in a press release. Total loans also recorded a drop of €134.6 million this September compared with a net drop of €107 million in August. Total loans in September stood at €52.6 billion. In another development, economic sentiment improved in October, since the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) was up by 4.5 points compared with September 2017, according to the Business and Consumer Survey of the University of Cyprus` Economic Research Centre. “The increase was driven by confidence improvements in services, retail trade and industry,” the Centre notes.

7. Halloumi registration stumbles over Green Line Regulation disagreement, according to Minister

The “last obstacle” in the registration of halloumi cheese as a product with protected designation of origin (PDO) is according to Nicos Kouyialis, the Minister of Agriculture, the disagreement over the amendment of the Green Line Regulation. Kouyialis appeared however optimistic that they will overcome this obstacle by the end of the year.  “There is a disagreement with the European Commission over the way to amend the Green Line Regulation, in order to allow for the trading of halloumi from the occupied to the free areas” of Cyprus, the Minister said on Thursday, in statements at the House of Representatives.  The Green Line Regulation sets out the terms under which persons and goods can cross from the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus into the areas controlled by the government of Cyprus.

8. Excavations at Athalassa Hospital for remains of missing persons to begin next week, Photiou says

Excavations at Athalassa Psychiatric Hospital, next to Nicosia General Hospital, for the remains of 33 missing persons, are set to begin next Wednesday, Presidential Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs Photis Photiou has said. Photiou who briefed this week a Parliamentary Committee on issues related to his portfolio, pointed out that establishing the fate of all missing persons in Cyprus is top priority. He also said that the issue of the missing persons is one of the most painful aspects of the Cyprus problem. He said that 43 years after the Turkish invasion of the island, we are still searching for the missing ones, adding that if the situation does not change in the next few years, the job of the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) will be affected.

9. Hunting in the buffer zone strictly prohibited, says UNFICYP

As the hunting season starts on November 5, UNFICYP reminds hunters that hunting in the buffer zone is strictly prohibited.  According to a relevant announcement, entering the buffer zone area in order to perform any kind of hunting activities “runs the risk of drawing fire from either of the opposing forces, and is therefore dangerous and irresponsible.”  It is added that hunters wearing camouflage outfits or carrying weapons are easily mistaken for soldiers. Firing guns in the area between the ceasefire lines causes tension since soldiers on duty cannot immediately determine where the shots have come from and may feel obliged to react, UNFICYP notes.

10. Cypriot Olympic finalist Milan Trajkovic talks to CNA about sports and future plans

Cypriot sprint hurdles athlete Milan Trajkovic has said he looks forward to the challenges that await him in 2018, expressing hope to win at least one more medal. Trajkovic, who won two gold medals at the Games of the Small States of Europe and who is the first Cypriot Rio Olympic Games finalist in sprint hurdles, spoke to CNA about his career, his life in Cyprus, and his future plans. The Serbian – born Cypriot athlete told CNA that  the Rio Olympic Games were the most important ones of his career so far. His qualification for the finals was his ‘greatest success’ , he said, noting that it opened up many opportunities, such as participation in the Diamond League, where each time he competes in the finals.CNA