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EU officials say Cyprus to sign EU Accession Treaty next month
2003-03-22 11:25:54

by Gregoris Savva -- Brussels, Mar 21 (CNA) - Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs Georgios Iacovou has received assurances from EU officials that despite the failure of the UN- led peace talks for a Cyprus settlement, the island will be signing the Accession Treaty on April 16 in Athens.

Iacovou met in Brussels today with European Commissioner Gunter Verheugen and President of the Committee for Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament Elmar Brok, who assured him that there is absolutely no problem with Cyprus' accession to the EU.

The Cypriot Minister noted that Verheugen praised President Tassos Papadopoulos' stance on the Cyprus question as well as Cyprus' accession course, adding that the conversation with Verheugen and Brok ''showed that the EU's role in the efforts for the solution of the Cyprus question would increase in the future''.|

''Cyprus will sign the Accession Treaty on April 16 in Athens'', Iacovou noted.

Commenting on a view expressed by Turkish Cypriot politicians that Annan's plan should be incorporated in the Accession Treaty, Iacovou said that ''there is absolutely no possibility for any amendments on the text of the Accession Treaty''.

Furthermore, Iacovou pointed out that during the lunch between the Foreign Ministers of the EU member states and their counterparts of the acceding and candidate countries, Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou only referred to the EU conclusions with regard to Cyprus, due to the fact that the Council was overshadowed by the crisis in Iraq.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Earlier this month, the latest UN-led effort to reach a negotiated settlement collapsed in The Hague after Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash refused to put to a referendum a proposal submitted to the two sides on the island by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

CNA/GS/RG/2002
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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