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Simitis to prepare summer summit by tour of EU
2003-04-16 11:58:31

by Athena Arsalidou-- Athens, Apr 16 (CNA) -- Greek Prime Minister and current president of the European Council Costas Simitis will start work on preparations for the June EU summit as he embarks on a long tour of nations, that will take him to all 24 countries, current members and those who sign today the Accession Treaty.

Speaking at a press conference here today after an informal EU summit, he said his first stop will be Cyprus, this coming Friday.|

Asked if he would offer any aid packages to Turkish Cypriots, during his visit to the island, he said ''I have nothing to offer to any of the two communities in Cyprus.''

''I will be there as president of the European Council, which has already decided on the financial assistance it would give the Turkish Cypriot community,'' Simitis told journalists.

He recalled that the EU has defined its policy on this matter and has announced the arrangements agreed in order to help the Turkish Cypriot community.

The EU has earmarked millions of euros for the northern Turkish occupied part of Cyprus, once a political settlement is achieved, to help bring the standard of living to the same level as that of the southern government controlled areas of the Republic.

In an interview with the Greek daily ''Ta Nea'' Simitis stressed the need to continue with efforts to solve the question of Cyprus after the Republic's accession.

He said he did not think that Cyprus' accession should mark the end of the effort for a solution.

''Cyprus must begin life within the EU as a reunited country, in order to develop the necessary dynamism emanating from its participation in the Union and in this way benefit the island's two communities,'' Simitis added.

He also said that the prospect of Turkey's accession to the EU is a pressure lever on those among the Turkish Cypriots who have adopted an intransigent stance.

The Turkish Cypriot side and Ankara bear responsibility for the collapse of the UN-led talks in The Hague last month and the Green Line that divides Nicosia, also divides Ankara from Brussels. he said.

CNA AAR/MM/GP/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

16/04/2003

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