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

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>


CONTENTS

  • [01] Pangalos expresses certainty over Cyprus-EU accession
  • [02] Cyprus Stock Exchange
  • [03] Cyprus: EU accession to act as catalyst for settlement
  • [04] Accession talks: Important step, says US ambassador
  • [05] Accession process to promote Cyprus solution, Blair hopes
  • [06] EU urges Turkey to reconsider position

  • 1510:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Pangalos expresses certainty over Cyprus-EU accession

    by Nicos Bellos

    Brussels, Mar 31 (CNA) -- Greek Foreign Minister, Theodoros Pangalos, expressed certainty that Cyprus will be one of the first candidate countries to complete negotiations for accession to the European Union.

    Speaking today, on the official commencement of the EU enlargement process, Pangalos told reporters that Cyprus has shown great progress regarding its harmonisation with the acquis communautaire.

    This progress leads to the conclusion that Cyprus will be among the first two or three countries to complete their accession negotiations, he pointed out.

    The Greek Foreign Minister described the commencement of accession negotiations as the first positive development concerning the Cyprus problem since the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island.

    Pointing out, that the negotiations themselves cannot solve the Cyprus problem, Pangalos expressed certainty that they will affect its resolution.

    Meanwhile, Pangalos attended a dinner given by NATO Secretary-General, Javier Solana. Speaking after the two-and-a-half-hour meeting, Pangalos said many issues were discussed in an amicable atmosphere.

    Asked if one of these issues was that of the purchase by the Cyprus government of the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missiles, Pangalos replied positively, but refused to get into details.

    CNA NB/RG/MCH/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1545:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] Cyprus Stock Exchange

    Nicosia, Mar 31 (CNA) -- The Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) All Share Index closed at today's stock exchange meeting as follows:
    CSE All Share Index                    89,02 (-0,16)
    
    Sectural Indices
    
    Banks                                 100,84 ( 0,01)
    Approved Investment Companies          66,23 ( 0,30)
    Insurance Companies                    65,14 (-1,17)
    Industrial Companies                   84,55 ( 0,09)
    Tourist Industries                     76,80 (-0,65)
    Commercial Companies                   53,77 (-0,48)
    Other Companies                        80,97 (-0,49)
    
    Trading Volume                         1.816.298
    
    * The difference in brackets represents the percentage increase (+) or decrease (-) of the index from the previous stock exchange meeting. CNA/MCH
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1800:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Cyprus: EU accession to act as catalyst for settlement

    by Myria Antoniadou

    Brussels, Mar 31 (CNA) -- Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides stressed here today the desire for a united Cyprus to enter the European Union, pointing out that accession could act as a catalyst in efforts for a Cyprus settlement.

    Kasoulides gave a press conference after the Intergovernmental Conference between Cyprus and the EU, marking the start of the accession talks, also attended by Cyprus' chief negotiator in the Cyprus-EU membership talks, former President George Vassiliou.

    Describing this day as "historic" for the people of Cyprus, Greek and Turkish Cypriots alike, Kasoulides pointed out that the accession process, "could be the catalyst that will induce all parties involved in the Cyprus question to act, well before the next EU enlargement, towards a mutually acceptable solution on the basis of a federation".

    He stressed that the reunification of Cyprus is the most important priority, "so that Cyprus joins the EU as a united country".

    Replying to questions, the Foreign Minister reaffirmed the government position concerning Turkish Cypriot participation in the accession talks.

    "Our position, which I find is a fair one, is that the Turkish Cypriot community should nominate its own representatives to participate in the delegation and our invitation still stands", he said.

    Commenting on the position of the EU on the issue, Kasoulides said "they will continue their efforts according to the Luxembourg Council decisions", but pointed out to the refusal by Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, to meet with presidency representatives.

    He said Denktash refused to see EU presidency envoy for Cyprus, Sir David Hannay, and Commissioner Hans Van den Broek, during their recent visits to the island, while he also turned down an invitation by British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook to visit London and meet with him in the context of these efforts.

    The Cypriot Minister referred to the EU process and the UN peace process for a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    "We are talking about two parallel and totally different processes. The process of accession negotiations has to be totally independent from the UN process", he said.

    On his part, commenting on the issue of Turkish Cypriot representation, Vassiliou said "it would be easy for us to include in the delegation Turkish Cypriot individuals", pointing out, however, that there will be difficulties if the nominations are not made by the Turkish Cypriot community.

    "We have to wait for the Turkish Cypriot community to decide to participate in the talks", he added.

    Asked if there was any reaction from the EU on Denktash's claim that the Union is to blame for the deadlock in the peace talks, Kasoulides said:

    "The position of the EU remains that they support the good offices mission of the UN Secretary-General to continue negotiations on the basis of intercommunal talks between the leaders of the two communities on the basis of UN resolutions on Cyprus".

    Commenting on Denktash's reaction, Kasoulides said, both him and Turkey have acted in a similar way in the past but then agreed to attend talks aimed at finding a solution of the Cyprus problem.

    He pointed out, however, that there has been no results so far, concerning a settlement of the Cyprus problem, but expressed the hope that Cyprus' prospect for accession to the EU "would lead to a solution of the Cyprus problem."

    Kasoulides referred to the benefits from the EU accession and the fact that the concerns of the two communities in Cyprus will be addressed.

    Speaking on the same issue, Vassiliou said Turkey reacted in a similar way, by halting negotiations on the Cyprus problem, in 1990 when Cyprus submitted its application for EU membership.

    "After UN insistence the bicommunal talks resumed. It is more a question of the stance the international community will take", he said.

    Kasoulides said "all candidate countries beginning negotiations today have their problems. The weakness of the Cyprus application is indeed the political problem and the division of the island", he added.

    Expressing the view that Cyprus can join the EU even if its political problem remains unresolved, Kasoulides said, "this is something that we must face when we cross the bridge".

    Asked if he received EU assurances that a divided island could join the Union, Kasoulides said nobody would give a blank cheque not only to Cyprus but to any of the other candidates that face other problems, either.

    The Foreign Minister made special reference to the "very good working relations with the other five applicant countries", (Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, Estonia, Czech Republic) noting that "there is cooperation and they have decided to assist each other".

    Kasoulides expressed the hope the international community would not recognise the illegal regime unilaterally declared in the Turkish-occupied part of the island.

    The situation in Cyprus, he said, is "artificial, created by the use of force and I do not think the international community is ready to condone to faits accomplis sustained by the use of force".

    Turkish troops have been occupying 37 per cent of Cyprus territory since 1974, in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdrawal.

    CNA MA/MCH/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1810:CYPPRESS:04

    [04] Accession talks: Important step, says US ambassador

    Nicosia, Mar 31 (CNA) -- US Ambassador in Nicosia, Kenneth Brill, said Cyprus' European Union accession talks are an "important step" and that "our goal is to see a benefit for all Cypriots and a benefit for the process of a critical solution to the problem of Cyprus".

    Speaking after a meeting with Interior Minister, Dinos Michaelides, Brill said "there are some problems right now" and that it is going to "take a lot of hard work to get around them".

    Brill added that the Cyprus problem has maybe become "more challenging to resolve, but we just have to deal with that".

    He said that "in the long run, we think that this is good for all of Cyprus".

    Referring to his meeting with Michaelides, Brill said he wanted to congratulate him on "coming back to his office".

    CNA RM/RG/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1930:CYPPRESS:05

    [05] Accession process to promote Cyprus solution, Blair hopes

    Nicosia, Mar 31 (CNA) -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said the Cyprus-European Union accession process could promote a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    "I believe the accession process, we are now embarking upon, should promote the prospects for a peaceful Cyprus settlement, which is now being pursued by the UN Secretary-General", Blair pointed out in an written reply to Conservative Chipping Barnet MP, Sir Sydney Chapman.

    He expressed the wish that Cyprus will be able to join the EU on the basis of such a settlement.

    Referring to the Turkish Cypriot participation in the accession negotiations, Blair said "if (Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf) Denktash is unwilling to participate at the start, we will continue to encourage both sides to come to a suitable arrangement as the accession negotiations progress".

    He stressed that he had a useful meeting with President Clerides on the eve of the European Conference, adding that he made clear to President Clerides that settlement of the Cyprus problem was not a precondition for EU accession.

    "President Clerides agreed with me on a desirability of offering the Turkish Cypriot community participation in the accession negotiations, and has made what seemed to us a reasonable offer, which we conveyed to Mr. Denktash on 13 March", Blair said.

    CNA AA/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    2000:CYPPRESS:06

    [06] EU urges Turkey to reconsider position

    by Myria Antoniadou

    Brussels, Mar 31 (CNA) -- The European Union today called on Turkey to reconsider its position regarding the start of negotiations for Cyprus' accession to the EU.

    The EU also stressed that it entered into its customs union with Turkey in 1995 on the understanding that accession negotiations with Cyprus would begin.

    In a press conference, at the end of separate meetings with the six applicant states, British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, whose country presides over the EU this term, and EU Commissioner for External Relations, responsible for enlargement, Hans Van den Broek, reaffirmed accession negotiations will proceed contrary to Turkish claims that they are blocking the way towards a Cyprus settlement.

    Replying to press questions, Cook repeated that "Cyprus' application must be judged on its own merits and those merits are strong".

    He said "Cyprus has worked hard to bring its laws into line with the European acquis, it has a fully functioning market economy and a higher standard of living than any of the other applicant countries".

    Pointing out that the EU would prefer a united Cyprus to join its ranks, Cook said that the Cyprus government "stressed its wish, for the sake of their own people, irrespective of the accession to the EU to heal the division".

    The British Foreign Secretary expressed regret "that the Turkish Cypriot community did not accept what was a fair and reasonable offer by President Glafcos Clerides to take part in the delegation for the accession negotiations".

    He stressed that "the Turkish Cypriot community have actually got more to gain from membership than the rest of the island", pointing out that their "standard of living is one quarter of that of the Greek Cypriot community and they would gain proportionately more from EU membership".

    Replying to questions on Turkey, Cook said "it is important for the EU to have a constructive and close working relationship with Turkey", adding that "the presidency is looking for ways to take forward the Association Agreement".

    He said "any application for membership by Turkey will be judged by exactly the same criteria as anybody else", pointing out that Turkey should "demonstrate a fully functioning market economy, a system of good governance and effective democracy and sound, well-established boundaries against third countries".

    Cook stressed, however, that Turkey has to understand that "the EU must be open to those countries who want to apply for membership and meet the criteria".

    Making special reference to Ankara's stance in regards to Cyprus-EU accession talks he pointed out "it was on that basis that the EU entered into its customs union agreement with Turkey".

    Asked what concrete steps the EU presidency and Commission is taking to bring about a peaceful resolution of Greco-Turkish relations, Cook said they are "in close dialogue with Athens and Ankara as well as proceeding with the accession process for Cyprus".

    He expressed the hope that some progress will be achieved by the time of the Association Council, towards the end of May.

    On his part EU Commissioner, Hans Van den Broek, expressed serious regret "that Ankara at the present point of time is not ready to continue any political dialogue with the EU as such."

    He said Turkey "is prepared to talk to the presidency or to member states in their national capacity but wants to avoid to be involved in a discussion with the Union on political items, which they consider to be purely bilateral, between them and Greece, notably where Cyprus is concerned, the Aegean, etc".

    Van den Broek appealed to Turkey to "no longer indulge in statements that give the EU the impression that self-fulfilling prophecies are being created as far as tensions in the eastern Mediterranean are concerned, because of the start of negotiations with Cyprus that were decided as far back as 1995".

    He expressed the hope, Turkey "would reconsider its position and what the EU has been offering it to strengthen relations and asked Ankara to address political issues which would allow Turkey's accession process to continue.

    The EU Commissioner stressed, "negotiations (with Cyprus) are going to start and to continue and we do not feel that it is productive (for Turkey) to continue to protest against that" and called for a constructive approach to the dialogue.

    "The EU, the Presidency, the Commission, the member-states, all of them are prepared to go along that path so we hope very much on some change of attitude in Turkey in this respect", he added.

    Referring to the enlargement process, Cook said it offers the possibility of a bigger and stronger Europe with stability and security, but pointed out the cost this process entails.

    He described the past two days as "historic" for both the EU and the applicant countries and said it was a privilege for Britain to be president of the EU at such a moment for in its development.

    "Today we got down to the real hard work of the start of the negotiations with those countries that are in the forefront for membership. There is a very tough hard job now to be done by both sides to make enlargement a success", he added.

    Pointing out that EU member states and applicant countries will have to face "some difficult choices and some costs", he stressed, "in that process none of us should loose sight of the much greater benefit and advantage to all of us from enlargement".

    Cook said "enlargement offers us a bigger, stronger Europe with the largest single market in the world, offering greater prosperity to all its members, present and future".

    He added "it also offers us stability and security and the prospect of a united Europe which has put behind it the artificial division between East and West".

    On his part, Van den Broek said the Commission is ready for the enlargement.

    "The exercise that we are going to do now in the negotiations obviously relates to a limited number of countries, but for the others also the Commission will make its very best effort to accelerate their preparation towards the start of negotiations".

    The EU Commissioner reaffirmed his determination "to see that all eleven candidate countries eventually see their aspiration responded to by full membership".

    He said he was impressed by the fact that candidate countries understand the challenge that lies ahead during the negotiations.

    "We will obviously keep the presidency and the Council informed on developments, the Commission is there to identify problems between the Union and applicant countries in meeting the acquis, to make proposals and try to reach agreements with the candidates", he concluded.

    CNA MA/MCH/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    CNA END
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