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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 00-01-12
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Wednesday, 12 January 2000
In a brief statement on his arrival in Cyprus yesterday, Mr Papandreou said that during his talks here he will review the present situation after the first round of UN-led proximity talks in New York last month and three weeks before the start of the second round of talks.
He pointed out that his visit to the island, which is the second since his appointment as Greece's Foreign Minister, is proof of the close cooperation he has initiated with the Cyprus Government and the island's political leadership, which he believes is essential because of recent developments and of those expected in the future.
The important decisions taken at the European Council Summit in Helsinki, he said, "will be a tool to promote a just and permanent solution of the Cyprus question but also will help Cyprus join the European family for the benefit of all its inhabitants."
The Helsinki conclusions, he added offer "a new, substantive opportunity for decisive progress."
Speaking at a joint press conference after talks with his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides, Mr Papandreou also stressed that the close cooperation between the two countries "gives us optimism, at least new prospects for utilising this new phase for the promotion of a solution to the Cyprus problem, which is the first priority of Greek Foreign Policy, and for the continuation of the accession process."
Asked whether the withdrawal of the Turkish troops from Cyprus would be a prerequisite for the start of EU accession negotiations with Turkey, Mr Papandreou said that the withdrawal of the troops would help reduce tension and create a binding framework, which would reduce the possibility of a threat or clash.
Clearly, it would be difficult not only for Greece but also for its EU partners to accept a country which would have an army of occupation in another EU member state, as Cyprus will be by then, he said.
Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, pointed out that the European Union's involvement in the efforts to solve the Cyprus problem would be positive in the sense that the EU, as the champion of the human rights of peoples and of democratic institutions, would confront the Cyprus problem on the basis of European principles.
Mr Kasoulides stressed that the Cyprus Government was prepared to examine ways in which the Turkish Cypriots could be informed about Cyprus' EU accession process.
"We are prepared to see Turkish Cypriot society and the non-governmental organisations of the two communities become involved as much as possible in the various procedures. There are already certain proposals on the table and we are prepared to consider others. We ourselves shall also probably be prepared to make certain proposals of this kind", he added.
Speaking after their meeting, they also emphasised the significance of meetings between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, which the UN has promoted at times.
Mr Holger expressed the view that rapprochement between Greece and Turkey will, sooner or later, have "a spill over effect in Cyprus".
On his part, Mr Papandreou agreed that rapprochement between Greeks and Turks during the disastrous earthquakes last year in both countries and efforts on behalf of both governments over the recent months "showed that Greeks and Turks not only can live together but can have very positive outcomes when they work together".
"It is very important at this time to support these meetings between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, between the Greeks and Turks because it is part of a very important process which will certainly help the solutions we need in this region", Mr Papandreou added.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/