Pat Cox: there is a compelling political deadline this year
Nicosia, May 9 (CNA) -- Pat Cox, President of the European Parliament, has called
on all the parties involved in the Cyprus question to seize the moment, noting that this
is the year of "compelling deadlines."
He said that the optimum successful outcome would be a Cyprus with a comprehensive settlement joining the European Union, and commended President Glafcos Clerides for his "consistent commitment" to make headway towards this goal.
President Clerides, who received today Cox who is on a working visit here, assured him that he would continue to work for a solution to enable all Cypriots to enjoy the political and economic benefits of accession as from 2004.
The President expressed the conviction that the Accession Treaty would be ratified during Cox's term in office and said he briefed the President of the European Parliament about the ongoing UN-led direct talks and the accession course.|
"I have assured the President of the ongoing commitment of the European Parliament to, at the earlier stage, achieve a successful outcome and the optimum successful outcome, of course, would be of a Cyprus with a comprehensive settlement," Cox said.
He expressed hope that "in the time that remains in this year of compelling deadlines, all those parties involved will seize the moment."
Thanking most sincerely President Clerides for his warm hospitality, he said at the meeting they reviewed progress both on accession to the EU and current state of talks, aimed at finding a comprehensive settlement.
"We in the European Parliament are deeply conscious that if we get the conditions correct, this year politically can be the year of enlargement," he said, adding that the Parliament is well aware of the fact that "in the negotiations Cyprus is the most advanced."
He said there is this year "a compelling political deadline." He expressed deep appreciation to the President and commended him in public for his consistent commitment to seek to move towards a comprehensive settlement. "We know the general terms that surround this," he said.
Referring to Cyprus' accession, he said in the end there will be "no external vetoes, each case will be judged on its merits and all relevant factors will be taken into account."
The EU decided in Helsinki in December 1999 that a political settlement in Cyprus would facilitate accession but it is not a precondition for it.
In his remarks after the meeting, President Clerides thanked Cox for the "continuous and undivided support the European Parliament is giving to Cyprus' accession course and to the efforts to solve the Cyprus problem."
"We are seeking a solution that would be based on the UN resolutions and the EU principles," he said.
"We are convinced that the European Parliament will continue to support Cyprus' accession to the EU and that under the presidency of Mr Cox it will ratify in good time the Accession Treaty so that Cyprus will take its rightful place in the European family as from the beginning of 2004," he added.
The President briefed Cox about Cyprus' efforts to harmonise its legislation with the acquis communautaire, create the administrative infrastructure and strengthen its capacity for the effective implementation of the acquis.
President Clerides informed the European Parliament president about his sincere efforts in good faith to find a settlement, based on UN resolutions and the principles on which united Europe has been built.
"I have assured him that despite difficulties we shall continue our efforts to solve the Cyprus problem so that the whole people of Cyprus may enjoy the political and economic benefits of accession as from 2004," the President added.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.
Cox is due to meet later today Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, who has been engaged in direct talks with President Clerides since mid January this year.
Cox concludes his working visit Friday.