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Spanish EU presidency congratulates Cyprus on peace effort
2002-05-14 10:43:36

Nicosia, May 14 (CNA) -- The European Union's six monthly rotating presidency, Spain, has extended warm thanks to Cyprus and in particular to President Glafcos Clerides for his "huge effort" so far to bring the UN-led peace talks to a successful conclusion.

Thanking Clerides, Ramon de Miguel, Spain's deputy minister responsible for European Affairs, expressed hope that by October substantive progress towards a settlement is achieved to see a reunited Cyprus join the EU.

De Miguel was addressing the 26th meeting of parliamentary committees dealing with European affairs from EU and candidate countries in Madrid, where Cyprus is represented by a parliamentary delegation headed by the president of the House European Affairs Committee Tassos Papadopoulos.|

The UN Security Council, after four months of direct talks, between President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, has called on both sides, "and in particular the Turkish side" to cooperate fully with UN Secretary General's special adviser for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto with a view at narrowing their differences.

Papadopoulos thanked the Spanish presidency for recognising "correctly the sincere and substantive contribution of the government of Cyprus in the efforts to find a viable solution to the Cyprus question."

He reiterated the government's commitment to continue making every effort towards this goal.

He said Cyprus has closed 27 of the 31 chapters in the accession negotiations and remains committed to the letter and the spirit of the EU Council decision in Helsinki which says that a settlement would facilitate accession but it is not a precondition for it.

In the discussion that followed about the role of national parliaments in the building of the new Europe, Papadopoulos said it was necessary to strengthen the role of the European Parliament and that of national parliaments to narrow the gap between European citizens and EU decision- making bodies.

He said the Convention on the future of Europe offers a unique opportunity to strengthen the role of the European Parliament and that of national parliaments.

He said Cyprus is the only candidate country with a presidential system of government and a clear cut distinction of powers.

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