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Pat Cox pledges to work for a settlement
2003-04-09 14:58:26

by Katerina Nicolaou-- Strasbourg, Apr 9 (CNA) -- President of the European Parliament Pat Cox said today that the failure to reach a Cyprus agreement should not keep Cyprus out of the European Union, nor make Europe abandon its own determination to work for a solution.

Speaking at a press conference after the historic voting of the plenary of the European Parliament that gave its assent for EU enlargement, Cox said that ''today we saw a clear and overwhelming vote with regard to the report on Cyprus.''|

Asked what initiatives the Parliament will undertake to make sure that the final European wall in Cyprus will be brought down, Cox said that ''it has been the constant position of the European Parliament to regard as the optimum condition for the entry of Cyprus as a united and reconciled Cyprus.''

However, he added that ''the optimum is not always available and it has constantly been made clear by this House that if through the good offices of the Secretary General it was not found, this would not be a reason to exclude the Republic of Cyprus.''

He noted that all the parties ''knew fully the direction we were going, there was complete transparency and all had the possibility to act in and to engage if they wished.''

''It is deeply to be regretted that in The Hague that did not happen but the failure at that moment should not firstly keep Cyprus out of the Union or secondly cause us to abandon our determination to work for a resolution,'' Pat Cox stressed.

Asked how Europe would deal with the issue of EU passports to the Turkish Cypriots, Cox admitted that he did not know the precise answer to this question.

''The legal position is clear, that under international law pending any comprehensive settlement the Republic of Cyprus is the de jure entity and that is precisely why in de jure terms that is the definition of Cyprus which will join. Apart from the legal question, comes the practical answer, given the division,'' of the island, he noted.

Making a personal political comment, he said he was ''deeply encouraged in recent weeks and months to see so many people ordinary citizens and civil society in the northern part of Cyprus come in the streets and connect with the European values and take as their symbol the European flag. I want to make this very clear that we in this house have a duty of care for their rights and I am determined we will exercise that duty.''

Answering the same question Chairman of Foreign affairs committee Elmar Brok referred to the case of Germany, without naming the country, and said ''there was a country in the past that was split and has benefited from the European unity to see unity itself, there was a part of the country that was not part of the European Union in practical terms but had a possibility to join the other part of its own country and get the passport by those means.''


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