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Efforts must intensify for Cyprus solution, French Minister says
2005-01-18 12:33:22

Nicosia, Jan 17 (CNA) -- French Minister for European Affairs Claudie Haignere said efforts have to intensify so as to achieve progress for a Cyprus settlement, noting she can not imagine the island's future within the EU without reunification.

Speaking through an interpreter, after a meeting here today with Cyprus Foreign Minister George Iacovou, Haignere said she extended, on behalf of French President Jacques Chirac, an invitation to Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos to visit France within 2005.

As regards the recent decision by the European Council for Turkey, the French official said ''we are placed in a new perspective for achieving a fair solution of the Cyprus problem''.

Responding to a remark she said France does not ''envisage a situation in which Turkey does not respond to its obligations as pointed out in December 2004''.

The Cyprus FM said the French Minister met earlier today with President Papadopoulos and they discussed the Cyprus problem, the protocol of adaptation of the Ankara Agreement and other issues, whereas their meeting focused on European issues such as Euro Mediterranean cooperation and financial issues.

He added that during the meeting with Haignere, the French friendly stance and support towards Cyprus had been reaffirmed.

In statements the French minister said that the issue of the cooperation between Europe and the Mediterranean is very important and ''we can make use of Cyprus' experience and expertise on this issue in order to make progress in this cooperation''.

Referring to the Cyprus issue, she said that France has always supported the UN Secretary General's services for a settlement and even though this was not possible before Cyprus' accession to the EU, the hope remains for a prospect that will lead to a just and viable solution''.

''We must not be pessimistic, looking backwards'', the French official said noting that progress has been made in several issues such as the rapprochement between the two communities.

''The message is that we must not stop here but intensify the dialogue in order to make progress'', she said.

Before their meeting the two ministers attended a ceremony at the Foreign Ministry during which the fountain pens with which the Cypriot Foreign Minister had signed the Treaty of Accession and the Treaty for the European Constitution were put on display.

The French Ambassador in Nicosia Hadelin De la tour - du Pin was also present.

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