Cyprus FM meets Britain's Minister for Europe
By Maria Myles
Valencia, Apr 23 -- Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides had a working
breakfast here today with British Minister of State Peter Hain, on the sidelines
of the 5th Euromediterranean Conference, which ends later today.
Discussion at the breakfast, which took place at a local hotel the minister is staying, focused on developments in Cyprus and in particular in the ongoing direct talks, which started under UN aegis in mid January this year.|
The talks took place after Hain's recent visit to Cyprus and in the middle of a short break in the peace talks, during which the UN Secretary General's special adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto is having consultations with the Spanish EU presidency, the EU Commission and Britain.
Hain clarified today that his recent statement about the accession of a united Cyprus to the EU did not imply that the political solution should precede accession.
(Hain had said "we want a united Cyprus to come into the EU", adding "it would be damaging for all concerned if that were not the case")
The British minister also referred today to the EU decision in Helsinki in December 1999, which stipulates that a political settlement would facilitate accession but it is not a precondition.
Hain is representing British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to the two-day conference.
On Monday, Foreign Minister Kasoulides had a brief encounter with EU High Representative on foreign and defence policy Javier Solana, who said that his remarks to a Greek paper about Cyprus' accession, as they were carried by the paper, do not respond to what he had said.
Solana was quoted as saying that "the Greek Cypriot part" of Cyprus would join the EU and hinted that there might be separate negotiations with the Turkish Cypriots.
Cyprus and Greece sought clarifications about Solana's remarks, which are contrary to the official EU position on Cyprus adopted in Helsinki and to the view that the application for EU accession filed by the government in Nicosia was made on behalf of the Republic of Cyprus and legally covers the entire island, irrespective of the fact that its northern areas continue to be under Turkish occupation for the past 28 years.