NEWS

Cypriot leader selects Cabinet

New Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias, who was sworn in yesterday, stated that his government’s top priority will be to negotiate a settlement to reunify the island. EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou was named foreign minister in the new 11-member Cabinet. Kyprianou, the first commissioner appointed by Cyprus since it joined the European Union in 2004, resigned the Brussels post yesterday. Charilaos Stavrakis, chairman of state-owned Electricity Authority, will take over at the Finance Ministry. Five Cabinet posts went to members of centrist and Socialist parties that provided campaign support. The Soviet-educated Christofias has sought to dispel concern over the island’s economy and pledged to maintain centrist policies. «Our economic program. .. is based on a combination of entrepreneurship and social cohesion,» he told parliament. Christofias is expected to arrive in Athens on Tuesday on an official three-day visit. But the veteran communist leader insisted: «Solving the Cyprus problem will be the top priority of my government. The solution of the Cyprus problem is the main reason I ran for president.» Negotiations with the Turkish Cypriots had gone nowhere under Christofias’s center-right predecessor Tassos Papadopoulos, who led Greek Cypriots in rejecting a UN reunification plan in a 2004 referendum.