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Simitis and Gul discuss Cyprus in Brussels
2003-02-17 16:49:00

by Nicos Bellos-- Brussels, Feb 17 (CNA) - Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, who is also presiding over the European Union, met today with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul, with whom he discussed the Cyprus problem, the course of democratic reforms in Turkey and the crisis in Iraq.

Diplomatic sources said the meeting was held in a ''good atmosphere'' and that the two sides expressed hope that an agreement on the basis of the UN plan for a Cyprus settlement would be reached.|

Simitis and Gul talked about reaching an agreement on guarantees and security for Cyprus, as foreseen in a proposal submitted by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for a comprehensive settlement of the problem of Cyprus divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Annan had also set a target date for an agreement, which expires on February 28.

The two Prime Ministers also discussed the talks that will take place between their respective Ministries of Foreign Affairs, in the context of the Annan plan.

Gul is in Brussels to attend tomorrow's meeting between the community troika with the ten countries acceding to the EU and the three candidate countries (Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey). During the meeting, Simitis will brief the leaders of the 13 countries on tonight's decisions of the 15 EU member states on the issue of Iraq.

The Turkish Prime Minister will be meeting today with the UN chief, the Belgian Prime Minister, the German Chancellor and the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy High Representative Javier Solana.

CNA/NB/RG/MM/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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