Greek FM visits Cyprus
"Cyprus' EU accession creates new momentum for the solution of the Cyprus problem'' Papandreou states.
Larnaca, Sep 10 (CNA) -- Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, who began talks here today with his Cypriot counterpart Giorgos Iakovou, has stressed that Cyprus' future role within the European Union, as a full member, is also a priority, apart from the effort to solve the political question.
In his remarks on arrival, he talked about different circumstances at present and a new momentum in the peace effort and urged Cyprus and the EU to make the most out of their new relationship that would emerge from Cyprus' accession in May 2004.
Iakovou said common decisions will be taken at the bilateral talks on the question of Cyprus, the Republic's post-accession course, the role and involvement within the EU and international issues of mutual interest.
The Cypriot minister extended very special thanks to Papandreou for his personal contribution to Cyprus' bid for EU accession and the support Greece has given Cyprus over the years.
''I am particularly pleased to be here today under different circumstances than in the past, when we were rather concerned at our meetings about the future, especially about Cyprus' accession course. Today we can look to the future with a very different self-confidence,'' Papandreou said.
The Greek Minister talked about a ''very different situation which creates a new momentum for the solution of the Cyprus problem.''
''We know that no solution is not a solution and in close cooperation with the government of Cyprus, we shall discuss these matters during our talks here,'' he added.
Papandreou said Cyprus' future within Europe was also a priority, apart from the effort to find a negotiated settlement.
''Cyprus will be an EU member very soon and this means a new Cyprus-EU relation and a new relation between Athens and Nicosia, as equal partners,'' he stressed.
Papandreou said that Cyprus has a lot to benefit from the EU, clarifying that he was not referring to political gains with regard to the peace effort.
''We are working on a new constitution for the EU, Cyprus can play an important regional role in the Middle East, the Arab world and ties with Israel and also has to be involved in the day-to-day affairs of the Union,'' he said.
The Greek minister stressed that it was very important not only for Cyprus but also for EU, which can exploit Cyprus' possibilities, to work on these matters and outline the future course of action on them after May 2004.
Minister Iakovou extended a very warm welcome to Papandreou saying he was particularly pleased to see him and praised his role in the long road to EU accession and the UN-led peace effort to find a negotiated settlement in Cyprus.
''Greece's six monthly EU presidency was exemplary and proved the dynamic diplomacy Athens has,'' Iakovou said.
Referring to bilateral ties, he said they are ''continuous, harmonious, close and at a very high level.''
''We have set out our common goals and policies on many issues and this visit is part of our very close cooperation,'' he said.
On his talks later today with Papandreou, he said apart from the question of Cyprus they will also discuss the way ahead after accession to the EU in May next year and current issues such as the developments relating to Cyprus in the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights and the Islamic Confence.
''We shall discuss, analyse and take common decisions on these matters,'' he said.