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Cyprus and Italy share views on common concerns
2005-06-06 14:24:25

Nicosia, Jun 6 (CNA) - The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus and Italy George Iacovou and Gianfranco Fini said that they have identical views on various issues they discussed here today, during their talks, including developments in the European Union, the question of Cyprus and UN reform.

The two Ministers signed a bilateral agreement of cooperation on culture, science, technology and education.

Speaking after the hour-long talks, which followed a meeting with Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, Fini said Rome is working hard for a satisfactory solution, which will take into account the verdict of the people of Cyprus on a UN proposed solution, rejected by the Greek Cypriots and approved by the Turkish Cypriots.

Responding to questions, Fini said his country had contributed to Cyprus' accession to the EU and expressed particular appreciation for the fact that Nicosia did not exercise its right of veto to block Turkey's accession course.

''We are working hard, thanks to the good relations we maintain with Ankara, for a satisfactory solution which cannot forget the will of the sovereign people at the referendum on the UN plan (Annan plan),'' Fini said.

He recalled that when the people speak, politicians have to listen.

Fini said he did not think Turkey's membership course was at stake because of the rejection by France and The Netherlands of the European Constitution.

''The European Council has a commitment which it must honour, provided the terms attached to this commitment are met,'' he pointed out, referring to the start of membership talks with Turkey on 3 October.

The Italian Minister talked about ''mutual positions on the main issues that concern the EU and on international problems, and we see a complete identity of views on the matters under discussion.''

Fini thanked Cyprus for its stance on UN reform and in particular on the expansion of the Security Council, saying that the UN must change to be in a position to intervene everywhere in the world.

The Cypriot Minister said they talked about the question of Cyprus, developments in the EU, bilateral ties, UN reform, as well as the need for Turkey to sign the protocol to its customs union agreement with the EU. Two EU regulations, still pending, relating to funding of the Turkish Cypriots and direct trade between the Union and Cyprus' Turkish occupied areas were also on the agenda of today's talks.

Iacovou said there was identity of views on issues discussed and added that Fini's visit would strengthen relations between the two countries.

After the talks at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Fini met House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias who said he had a ''friendly dialogue'' on recent developments in Cyprus.

''We both expressed hope that the new UN effort will yield results as soon as possible so that negotiations can start and we both agree that there should be no strict deadlines and no arbitration but instead a negotiated agreed solution,'' Christofias said.

He said Cyprus was very interested in playing a creative role in the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East and act as the EU window in this region.

Fini leaves Cyprus tonight.

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