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Poos says crossing of divide "good omen" for settlement
2003-04-24 11:26:17

Nicosia, Apr 24 (CNA) European Parliament Rapporteur on Cyprus' accession to the European Union Jacques Poos said he hoped the failure of The Hague talks is only an accident and that a unified Cyprus can enter the European Union the soonest.

Speaking after being received by President of the Republic, Tassos Papadopoulos, Poos said the easing of the restriction of movement on the island is a "good omen" that the Cyprus problem will be solved soon.|

Asked to comment on the easing of restrictions on free movement on the island, Poos said, "my personal comments are quite positive. What happens now is something we have asked for and hoped for and worked for since long decades. If a wall falls, if people can travel freely from one side to another, is an enjoyable moment in the history of a divided country. People can reunite and show that the political unification must follow soon.

He said the European Parliament hopes that "the failure of The Hague is only an accident and that the work for a unified Cyprus should be taken up as soon as possible"and if it is completed before 1st May 2004, "a united country can be a member of the EU, a united country with a good functioning federal or common government, whatever the name is, which can take decisions on behalf of the people of Cyprus".

Asked if this is the beginning of a solution to the Cyprus problem, Poos said, "I think it is a good omen that the Cyprus problem will be solved soon and it will be done by the people. They have to show to their leaders, and I have in mind Mr. (Rauf) Denktash that he has to proceed".

Regarding his meeting with Papadopoulos, he said they discussed the recent situation on the island, the future of the Annan plan and all the endeavours which lie before the country, like the Schengen Agreement, Monetary Union, and the ratification process in the member states and in the Republic of Cyprus”.

Poos said he did not see any difficulty for the ratification in any member state of the EU, noting it is "a package which has to be taken as it is. No country can be kicked out and the national parliaments have to say yes or no to the enlargement as it is".

On the measures, which the European Union will propose for Turkish Cypriots, Poos said there is a protocol in the Treaty, which has to be implemented on proposals of the Commission.

"It's about free circulation of goods, and free movement of people between the dividing line and the Commission will lay on the table proposals how this has to function in detail”, he said, noting there is a period now up to 1st May 2004 when Cyprus is a full fledged member, and then a period after the 1st May 2004 until Cyprus becomes a member of the Schengen agreement".

Earlier Poos met Foreign Minister Georgios Iacovou.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island’s territory.

Efforts to reunite the island collapsed in The Hague in March when Turkish Cypriot leader Denktash refused to put the UN Secretary-General's peace plan to a referendum.

CNA/EC/MK/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
24/04/2003

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