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EU praises Cyprus for its contribution in solving the crisis in Bethlehem <
2002-05-10 15:44:21

The European Union Presidency and the President ofthe European Parliament thanked the Government of Cyprus for its contribution in defusing tension in the Middle East by allowing 13 Palestinian militants to stay in Cyprus transit for a few days, until their further destination is decided.They also praised Cyprus for cooperating effectively with the EU, even before enlargement.

STATEMENT BY THE SPANISH FOREIGN MINISTER, JOSEP PIQUE

"President of the EU Council and Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Piqu? has thanked Cyprus for its "rapid" and "generous" contribution towards solving the crisis in Bethlehem by agreeing to receive thirteen of the Palestinians who took refuge in the Church."

DECLARATION BY THE PRESIDENCY REGARDING THE DEPARTURE OF PALESTINIAN CITIZENS FROM PALESTINIAN TERRITORY(10 MAY 2002)

"Over the last few days, EU representatives have been striving to find a satisfactory solution to the situation of the Basilica of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, both for humanitarian reasons and to reinstate in their functions the buildings of the Basilica and also to contribute to the arduous pacification process in the area.

One of the elements of the agreements reached by Israeli and Palestinian authorities with the participation of US and EU representatives foresees the agreed departure from the territory of a certain number of Palestinian subjects.

In this context, the Presidency thanks the Government of Cyprus for the valuable help rendered by provisionally accepting these persons in its territory while their further destination is decided in the coming days on the basis of the aforementioned agreements. "

STATEMENT OF PAT COX ON THE THIRTEEN PALESTINIAN MILITANTS BROUGHT TO CYPRUS FROM BETHLEHEM

Speaking from Nicosia this morning, ( May 10, 2002) where he is on a 3-day working visit in the context of Cprus's planned accession to the EU, European Parliament President Pat Cox commended the Cyprus Government's contribution to defusing tension in the Middle East allowing 13 Palestinian militants to spend some days in transit in Cyprus, following their removal from the Church of the Holy Trinity in Bethlehem, before being sent on to EU member States.

By this act Cyprus is already coperating effectively with the EU, even before enlargement. Cyprus's geographical position and historical links with the Middlee East should help to strengthen the EU's strategic presence in the region: this is to be welcomed, and I commend Foreign Minister Kasoulides on his swift and effective action", said Pat Cox.

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