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Greek Premier: Greece remains dedicated to Cyprus settlement
2004-11-12 17:06:42

Nicosia, Nov 12 (CNA) -- Greece remains dedicated to a settlement of the Cyprus problem through a viable, functional and just agreement, in conformity with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations and the principles of the European Union, Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said tonight, in his speech at a dinner given in his honour by Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos.

''I agree with you, President Papadopoulos, that the Cyprus people and you personally, are being called upon to take very difficult decisions. Decisions concerning a painful – as you pointed out – compromise that would lead to a just and viable solution of the Cyprus problem. A decision within the framework of a bicommunal -bizonal federation based on the plan of the UN Secretary General'', Karamanlis said.

The Greek Premier, on the island for a two-day visit, reassured that the government and the people of Greece are standing as always by the side of the people of Cyprus and its leaders.

''Despite the difficult international circumstances we have to make it clear that our vision is a free and united Republic of Cyprus, a state based on the rule of law and democracy, that would safeguard the rights of all its citizens, Greek and Turkish Cypriots, that would project the European character of the island and would constitute a link between the European Union and the Middle East'', he stressed.

Referring to Turkey's European course, he said ''we support Turkey’s European orientation, which is, after all, our strategic choice''.

He added ''Turkey’s course towards Europe, which is expected to be a long one, depends on her attitude. The respect of the rules of international law and the acquis communautaire is sine qua non if Turkey is to be accepted in Europe''.

Karamanlis, who visits Cyprus as the first Greek Prime Minister after the island's official accession to the European Union, expressed his ''fervent wish and deep desire to be the first Prime Minister of Greece to visit a reunited Cyprus, the unified and free state of Cyprus''.

Referring to Cyprus' accession to the EU in May this year, he said ''our constant aim, our ultimate target, the dream, I would say of so many years has at last become reality with the sincere heartfelt and unwavering support of Greece. Cyprus with its European debut which it has achieved with much effort and consistency, has acquired a significant voice in the international arena''.

''Unfortunately, the new European identity of Cyprus has not yet led to the much desired solution of the Cyprus problem. The sovereign people of Cyprus with a strong majority decided that the plan of the UN Secretary General was not satisfactory'', he noted.

Karamanlis added ''despite the fact that the popular verdict is still fresh, it is my conviction that Greek Cypriot citizens are ready and firmly oriented, as they have proved by their maturity so far, to a functional solution to the Cyprus problem, which is a historic anachronism''.

''In the light of the new situation, there is need for sobriety, circumspection, clear thinking and mainly unanimity. No chance should be missed to declare in every direction that we remain dedicated to a settlement of the Cyprus problem through a viable, functional and just agreement, in conformity with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations and the principles of the EU'', he said.

Karamanlis added that the participation of Cyprus in the institutions of the European Union would allow it to contribute to the deepening and the consolidation of a common European idea in the minds of the peoples of Europe.

''We got an inkling of this during the signing of the First European Constitution'', the Greek Prime Minister said.

He furthermore noted that with its accession to the EU, Cyprus extended the borders of Europe just a stone’s throw away from the Near East. This position gives Cyprus the possibility, based on its strong economy, its reliable public administration and the dynamism of the Cypriot citizens, to create an important centre for the development of trade, shipping and communications''.

''This would constitute a magnet and a point of reference of neighbouring and other countries for the benefit both of Cyprus and the European Union'', the Greek Premier concluded.

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