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2003-05-23 17:22:19


?It is always with pleasure, satisfaction and pride that officials and citizens of the Republic of Cyprus visit the Cyprus International Fair because year after year, the Fair appears richer and improved, reflecting in a better way the achievements of our people in the fields of commerce, industry, cottage industry, services and production in general.

Traditionally, Cypriots are characterized by their business acumen, their adaptability to new conditions and technology, securing their rightful place and making their presence felt in the new arena of globalized society.

We feel proud for our business community and for the industry of all the productive classes and the working people as well as their ability to widen the horizons of their activity and their great endurance to the adversities they encounter.

One cannot but think how much more and how many greater things we could have achieved in a reunited country and by uniting and coordinating our efforts, virtues, special abilities and capabilities of the entire Cyprus people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.

The 28th Cyprus International Fair is opening its gates at the historic juncture of the signing of the Accession Treaty of the Republic of Cyprus to the European Union.

I would like to repeat once again, our firm and immutable aim to celebrate on May 1st 2004 the official accession of a re-united Cyprus and the expectation of the Government and the people that a reunited Cyprus will face the challenges before it and that Greek and Turkish Cypriots will share in an equitable way and equality before the law the benefits and opportunities to be accrued by our accession.

At the same time, I declare the readiness and willingness of the overwhelming majority of the Greek Cypriot side for direct and substantive negotiations on the basis of the Annan Plan to find a solution in accordance with the relevant decisions and the United Nations framework.

The Annan plan is still on the table as are the improvements we have suggested in the document I have submitted to the UN Secretary General and the amendments that have become necessary following the signing of the Accession Treaty . These amendments have been proved feasible following the partial lifting of the restrictions which were imposed since the Turkish invasion in 1974 and the continuing occupation. We have not put forward any other condition or prerequisite for negotiations, after the Hague meeting.

These basic policy positions are well known and I assure you that they are understood and appreciated by all parties involved in the efforts for a solution of the Cyprus problem. The lifting of the restrictions which the occupation regime itself had put in place does not constitute a solution of the Cyprus problem, neither do any other steps which the occupation regime and Turkey are obliged to take and may take in order to comply with international law and their international obligations.

It is natural that the initiative for the lifting of measures related to the occupation could only come from the occupation forces since it is they who have imposed and maintain the occupation.

Such things, however, are not even steps towards a solution. This is so because they constitute attempts to establish relations of good neighbourliness as if there were in Cyprus two separate, equal, and lawful state entities because this is the current policy and goal of the occupation regime.

This policy cannot be accepted and this attempt by Mr. Denktash will not succeed. Neither in Cyprus nor internationally. It is one thing to take steps towards a viable and workable solution and another to take steps for the sake of impressions and public relations.

As it is customary, the important event of the International State Fair for the most part concerns the economic and trade developments in our country and region. In the framework of this short address I shall not attempt to an analysis or refer to prospects. In any case this is what the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Mr. Yiorgos Lillikas spoke about.

I will confine myself to saying that I believe and hope that in the new competitive European environment, the Republic of Cyprus will be able to play a major role in the Euro-Mediterranean Economic Partnership.

Our aim and goal is to be a good partner and not a nuisance in the framework of the European Union.

The State Fairs Authority can and should contribute even further to the common efforts to project the geographical, economic and technological comparative advantages of the Republic of Cyprus so as to turn Cyprus into a modern regional business center in many fields.

In conclusion, I wish to warmly congratulate the President and the Members of the Board as well as the staff of the State Fairs Authority of Cyprus, the exhibitors and everyone who has contributed to the successful organization of the 28th Cyprus International Fair.?

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