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Berlusconi calls on Ankara to help find Cyprus settlement
2003-12-12 14:55:06

Brussels, Dec 12 (CNA) - Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, whose country currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, called on Ankara today to contribute constructively towards finding a solution of the Cyprus problem.

Berlusconi said the EU would prefer a reunited Cyprus to join the bloc in May next year, so as to permit all Cypriots to benefit from accession.

He noted the significance of the political will expressed by Turkey to reach a settlement.

The Italian Prime Minister also referred to the EU funding of the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus with 206 million euros, which is subject to a prior solution of the Cyprus problem.

Commenting on the ''parliamentary elections'' to take place on December 14 in the Turkish occupied areas of the island, Berlusconi noted the need for freedom of press and information, so that the procedure is carried out smoothly and ''the results are democratic''.

On Turkey's reforms to comply with the acquis communautaire, Berlusconi welcomed Ankara's efforts and progress so far, and noted the necessity to accelerate the process.

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