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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-03-31

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] EU talks, peace talks enhance each other, says EU
  • [02] EU not substitute for settlement, says Cypriot FM

  • 1230:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] EU talks, peace talks enhance each other, says EU

    by Myria Antoniadou

    Brussels, Mar 31 (CNA) -- The European Union opened today membership talks with the Republic of Cyprus, noting that progress in these talks and the peace effort towards a negotiated settlement would reinforce each other.

    Outlining the EU position, Council President, British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, said Cyprus and the EU are "partners" in this effort and have the same objective, namely to make these negotiations a success.

    Cook, who was speaking at the first session of the intergovernmental conference for Cyprus' accession, also allowed room for "transitional measures" in the case of Cyprus, but only in exceptional circumstances and with a time limit in mind.

    Furthermore, the EU President expressed regret that the Turkish Cypriots have so far taken a negative stand on an offer for participation in the accession talks and stressed the Union's resolve to "pursue the necessary contacts" with them.

    In his opening statement, Cook said "a political settlement would allow the provisions of the Accession Treaty to be implemented throughout the island."

    "Progress towards accession and towards a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem will naturally reinforce each other," he pointed out, reaffirming "full support" for UN efforts to reach a negotiated settlement.

    The Union expressed "regret" that a political solution has not been achieved in time for the accession negotiations and added "Cyprus' accession should benefit all communities, including the Turkish Cypriot community and help to bring about civil peace and reconciliation on the island."

    "Our objective remains a bi-communal, bizonal federation on the basis of a comprehensive political settlement in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions," he added.

    Welcoming the government's offer to include Turkish Cypriot representatives in the team for negotiating the terms of accession, the EU said it regrets the "Turkish Cypriot community has so far responded negatively to this offer."

    The offer, submitted through the British presidency, has been described by the EU president Robin Cook as "fair and generous."

    President Glafcos Clerides had invited the Turkish Cypriot community to "nominate representatives to be included as full members of the Cypriot team" and assured them that their views "will be discussed freely, seriously and in good faith."

    Cook reiterated the importance the EU attaches to "associating the Turkish Cypriots with the accession process" and said the Presidency and the Commission "will pursue the necessary contacts."

    He said accession demands "effective implementation of the acquis" and implies "full acceptance" of the acquis.

    "Your acceptance of the rights and obligations resulting from membership may give rise, exceptionally, to transitional measures to be defined during accession negotiations," Cook said.

    Any such measures, he pointed out, must be "limited in time and scope and accompanied by a plan which clearly defines the status for the application of the acquis."

    The Union, he added, uses the opportunities the accession process offers "to end the divisions of the past", underlining that "these efforts are being matched by Cyprus which has made great strides on the path to accession."

    "I look forward to the day when I will see you across the Council table as fellow members of the EU," Cook told Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides.

    EU Commissioner responsible for External Affairs Hans Van den Broek expressed regret that the Turkish Cypriots were not present to participate in the start of membership talks and referred to the need for compliance with the acquis communautaire.

    Cyprus divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion, applied for EU membership in 1990. It signed an association agreement with the European Community in 1972 and a customs union protocol in 1987.

    CNA MA/MM/GP/1998

    [02] EU not substitute for settlement, says Cypriot FM

    by Myria Antoniadou

    Brussels, Mar 31 (CNA) -- As the Republic of Cyprus embarked today on its course for membership of the European Union, the country's Foreign Minister stressed the importance Cyprus attaches to it but also underlined that the EU is no substitute for the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Ioannis Kasoulides described the search for a solution in Cyprus as a "most important and most fundamental objective" and called on the EU to place the prospect of accession at the service of this goal.

    He appeared confident that no third country will have a veto on the Cypriot application, nor will Cyprus be penalised to satisfy the interests of third countries.

    "Our future lies in Europe and we are willing to make the adjustments required for Cyprus to secure its rightful place in the European family," Kasoulides said at the first session of the intergovernmental conference for Cyprus' accession to the EU.

    He said Cyprus will be transformed into Europe's "contact point with the troubled but extremely important region of the Middle East," noting also that the country's accession to the EU extends European space to the Eastern Mediterranean.

    The Minister reminded the conference that the political problem on the island remains unresolved and expressed the view that the accession process will undoubtedly change the context of the problem and act as a catalyst for the reunification of Cyprus, divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern part.

    Stressing Cyprus' European vocation, Kasoulides pointed out that "accession to the EU is not a substitute for the solution of the problem of the division of Cyprus."

    "For us, the most important priority for which we will spare no effort, is to end the division of our country and to reunite our homeland and our people," Kasoulides pointed out.

    The process and prospect of accession to the EU, he added, should be at the service of this most important and most fundamental objective.

    "We are searching for a mutually acceptable solution so that the communities of Cyprus can live together within a federation," Kasoulides said, noting the government is committed to "work positively and constructively" with the UN for a federal Cyprus.

    "The process of negotiating our accession to the EU is parallel and independent of the process under the auspices of the UN to find a mutually acceptable permanent solution to the Cyprus problem," he noted.

    Kasoulides said he was confident that "no third country will have veto over the progress of our application, nor will Cyprus be penalised in order to satisfy the interests of third countries."

    Addressing himself to the Turkish Cypriots, Kasoulides repeated and renewed the invitation to them for participation in the accession process.

    "We regret that they are not here with us today," he said, reiterating the government's wish to have Turkish Cypriots working with Greek Cypriots to prepare Cyprus for accession and enjoy the benefits.

    Acknowledging that accession implies "full acceptance of the acquis communautaire", Kasoulides assured the EU Cyprus would work as quickly as possible to implement the acquis on the basis of the pre-accession process.

    Noting that Cyprus' foreign policy corresponds to that of the EU, he expressed the government's wish to join the Western European Union, after accession.

    CNA MA/MM/GP/1998
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