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Cyprus FM: a lot of work done in view of EU summit
2004-12-06 09:58:44

Nicosia, Dec 6 (CNA) -- The Cyprus government is working very hard, on all levels, ahead of next week's European Union summit which will decide whether to start accession negotiations with Turkey, Foreign Minister George Iacovou has said.

He also said that Nicosia is aware of pressure on Ankara to recognise the Republic of Cyprus and described as very important Tuesday's visit here by the Dutch Prime Minister and current president of the European Council Jan Peter Balkenende.

''We are working quietly, very hard and on all levels. We are not going to reveal our positions and we know that Turkey is under serious pressure to recognise Cyprus, a member state of the EU,'' he said on his way to Sofia to participate in a ministerial meeting of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

He said this week he will be talking to his British and French counterparts and noted that there is no point in commenting on a draft text of the conclusions of next week's summit, from 16-17 December in Brussels.

Responding to questions about US pressure on Brussels with regard to the need to have Cyprus recognised by Turkey, Iacovou said Washington's long standing policy is to help Turkey secure a date for the start of accession negotiations.

The minister condemned a verbal attack in Turkey against Josep Borrell, president of the European Parliament, because of his intention to visit Diyarbakir, in south-eastern Turkey, and to meet with Leila Zana, recently freed from jail where she served a lengthy sentence for support of demands of the Kurdish people.

On the OSCE meeting in Sofia, he said apart from European countries, NATO members and states from Euro-Asia will also be attending.

The minister returns on Tuesday.

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