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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 02-02-21
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Thursday, 21 February 2002
 First round of direct talks on Cyprus concludedThe first round of UN-led direct talks between the President of the Republic Mr Glafcos Clerides and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mr Denktash in the presence of the UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, was concluded on Tuesday afternoon. Present at the meeting were also the members of each side's delegation.
Tuesday's meeting was the 14th since the beginning of the talks on January 16, 2002.
The talks, which were suspended for a brief reflection period, will resume on March 1, with meetings on Tuesday afternoons and Friday mornings.
The UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus Mr Alvaro de Soto left yesterday for New York to report to the United Nations Secretary General and to brief the Security Council on the talks.
 Cyprus must be one of the first states to accede to the European UnionThe Prime Minister of Luxemburg Mr Jean Claude Juncker, who is in Athens on an official visit, had a meeting yesterday with the Greek Prime Minister Mr Costas Simitis. After the talks the two Premiers made statements to the press.
In his remarks the Prime Minister of Luxemburg referred to Cyprus, saying that he had reiterated to his Greek counterpart the stable position of the Government of Luxemburg on the accession of Cyprus to the European Union. Cyprus must become a member of the European Union as one of the first states to accede, he said.
He stressed that accession should and can be achieved without any preconditions being imposed on Cyprus or the European Union and without any country being able to raise the right of veto, as far as the accession of Cyprus is concerned. This is very important because the problem is not only a problem that interests Greece, but also a problem that should interest all the countries of the European Union, he added.
Finally Mr Juncker said that, during the discussions, he was given some useful information for expanding on these positions.
 Statements by Foreign Ministers of Cyprus and GermanyThe German Foreign Minister Mr Yoschka Fischer said in his remarks to the press, after meeting Foreign Minister Mr Ioannis Kasoulides in Berlin on Tuesday, that his country has high hopes that the UN-led direct talks will lead to a solution between the two sides, something that will be for the benefit of Cyprus and the people on both sides. He also expressed the wish that a solution may be found prior to Cyprus' accession to the EU.
Referring to Cyprus' EU accession negotiations, Mr Fischer said that the impressions he had from his meeting with the EU Commissioner for Enlargement Mr Gunther Verheugen on the issue were very positive. Moreover, he expressed the wish for the successful conclusion of all other issues which are still open, and the fulfilment of the expectations of the Nice and Gothenburg Councils, so that the new EU member states could participate in the Euro Elections of 2004.
Replying to a question on whether he believes that even without the solution of the Cyprus problem, Cyprus' EU accession is possible, Mr Fischer said that everything that was said could be found in the decision of the European Council at Helsinki, which should be the guideline. He pointed out that at Helsinki it was clearly stated that for Cyprus and the other candidate countries for EU accession, a decision would be taken according to the progress made in their accession negotiations and in the light of the progress already made, and that this decision would possibly be taken by the European Council at Copenhagen. Any other interpretation than this would not be correct, he said, adding that he would not dare under any circumstances to doubt the wisdom of the leading states and governments of the European Council at Helsinki.
Invited to say whether Cyprus will be among the first group of countries that will join the EU, Mr Fischer noted that this would depend on the European Commission, which would put forward its proposal on the matter to the European Council.
For his part, Mr Kasoulides said he had assured Mr Fischer that the Greek Cypriot side would do everything possible to take advantage of the opportunity of the UN - led direct talks, to reach a settlement.
 Armenian Defence Minister in Cyprus for talksThe Defence Minister of Armenia Mr Serzh Sargsyan, arrived in Cyprus yesterday for a three-day official visit, at the invitation of the Minister of Defence, Mr Socratis Hasikos.
Speaking to the press after the arrival of the Armenian Minister, Mr Hasikos welcomed Mr Sargsyan to Cyprus, noting that his visit to the island comes at a period when talks are taking place in a last effort to find a solution to the political problem, prior to Cyprus' accession to the European Union. In parallel to the negotiations, and given the fact that efforts in the past proved that, unfortunately, it is not easy to reach a settlement, Cyprus is reinforcing and upgrading its defence capability always as a deterrent and basically, as a peace tool, he said.
Mr Hasikos said that during Mr Sargsyan's stay on the island, they will have the opportunity to discuss further all the issues that were examined in Armenia, and that this would enhance relations between the two countries as well between the two Ministries.
He also referred to the good and friendly relations between the two countries, adding that he and Mr Sargsyan will sign an agreement of military and technical content.
For his part, Mr Sargsyan expressed the hope that the Cyprus problem will move forward in a positive direction, underlying the need to resolve disputes through negotiations. Armenians know very well what war means and do everything possible so that their problems are solved in a peaceful way, he added.
During his stay on the island, the Armenian Minister will be received by the President of the Republic Mr Glafcos Clerides. He will also have a meeting with the President of the House of Representatives Mr Demetris Christofias.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/