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Cypriot minister discusses commerce and tourism issues in Israel
2005-05-25 13:56:43

Larnaca, May 25 -- Cyprus Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism George Lillikas discussed issues of cooperation with Israel in the fields of commerce and tourism with the competent ministers and institutions of Israel, during a two-day visit he paid to the neighbouring country.

Speaking at Larnaca airport upon his return from Israel, on Wednesday, Lillikas said that he met with the Israeli Ministers of Industry, Trade and Labour, Tourism, National Infrastructure and Transport and that during his visit to the Palestinian Authority he met with the Minister of Economy and Trade.

He noted that that during his meetings with Israeli Ministers they discussed issues of cooperation in the fields of Research and Technology, noting that ''Israel is the most developed country in our region in this field with a very good infrastructure and with very good results.''

''We have agreed to set up a joint working group that will work out the further specialisation of an old agreement that covers issues of research so that the two countries will move on to a more specialised agreement in the fields of research and technology,'' he added.

The Cypriot official said Israel has shown particular interest in the ''research centre we have set up in cooperation with the Harvard University,'' and expressed the view that ''there will be an agreement for cooperation and participation of Israel.''

Lillikas described as "very interesting" an Israeli proposal to set up a joint fund between the two countries to promote research and innovation in the field of high technology, with the cooperation of scientists from both countries.

In addition, ''we put forward a proposal for an agreement on determining the exclusive economic zone between Cyprus and Israel,'' he added, expressing the view that ''Israel's stance was not negative.'' He said a dialogue would soon embark regarding this proposal.

He noted they also discussed the issue of avoiding double taxation, an issue pending for many years now and has a particular importance for Israel, as it is interested in investments in Cyprus.

As regards the issue of cooperation between Cyprus and Israel in the field of tourism, Lillikas said that a working group between the Cyprus Tourism Organisation and Israel's Ministry of Tourism will be set up to look into details for ''possible joint packages for markets Cyprus and Israel are interested in.''

He noted that Israel is most interested in the European market ''at which Cyprus is very strong and we are most interested in the US market at which Israel is very strong since it mainly attracts American-Hebrews living in the US for holidays in Israel.''

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