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Issue raised by Solana's statements considered closed
2002-04-23 17:42:28

Nicosia, Apr 23 (CNA) -- The Cyprus government considers the issue raised by EU High Representative for foreign and defence policy Javier Solana's statements to a Greek daily as closed, following clarifications given by Solana himself and other EU officials, Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said here today.

Papapetrou was commenting on a statement by Solana in the Greek newspaper "Vima" on Sunday that if a solution to the Cyprus problem is not found, then only the "Greek Cypriot part" of Cyprus would become a member of the Union.|

The spokesman said after clarifications offered by Solana himself and by Commissioner responsible for enlargement Gunter Verheugen's spokesman Jean Filori, "the government considers that the issue has been fully clarified."

The Cypriot government has expressed satisfaction "with the fact that EU's position remains unchanged, that it is basically recognised that the interview was a product of bad expression or a misunderstanding and considers the whole issue closed," the Cypriot official added.

He said the clarification sends out the message that Solana sides with the EU decisions that state that the Republic of Cyprus will de jure join the EU as a whole, irrespective of whether a prior solution to the Cyprus problem is reached.

Replying to a question, Papapetrou said "up until the last day before our accession to the EU we will have problems to solve and cope with difficulties. We have to build on solid political foundations."

He was quick to add that "our course so far, our behaviour at the negotiating table for the Cyprus problem and the accession process guarantee very solid foundations."

Cyprus, which opened accession negotiations with the EU in 1998, has already closed 27 chapters of the acquis communautaire out of 30.

CNA/RG/RM/GP/2002

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