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Vassiliou thinks heated incident unlikely
2002-05-21 11:31:19

Nicosia, May 21 (CNA) - Cyprus' Chief Negotiator for accession to the EU, George Vassiliou, has said it would be a "tragic mistake" to believe that there was no possibility Turkey would change its stance and a solution would be found to the Cyprus problem by December, when the EU will decide on its enlargement.

Commenting on Turkish threats for a crisis if Cyprus joins the EU prior to a Cyprus settlement, Vassiliou said "if we assume Turkey creates a heated incident before the discussion on accession, this would be like giving Cyprus a passport for accession" and noted Turkey "would not want this".|

Speaking after a meeting with President of the Republic Glafcos Clerides, Vassiliou said that in late October, the European Commission would make a proposal on Cyprus' accession to the EU and that in December a decision would be made, so if Turkey tried to create a crisis, this "would not be before December".

Vassiliou said "we must put things in their proper perspective and stress that a heated incident would fully turn against Turkey, would harm her and that is why we should predict that it is unlikely it will happen".

Referring to the June target for progress on talks to solve the Cyprus problem, Vassiliou said if no progress is achieved, then the Security Council would discuss the issue and if it found that Turkey was responsible for the situation, then it would contribute to "the EU opening its door for Cyprus".

Vassiliou said he briefed the President today on his recent trip to London and Paris, where he discussed Cyprus' EU accession course and progress on harmonisation.

The Chief Negotiator will meet again with the President on Friday, in view of his trip to The Hague.

Cyprus opened accession negotiations with the EU in 1998 and has so far provisionally closed 27 out of the 30 chapters under negotiation.

Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash have been engaged in direct talks since mid-January this year, with a view to negotiate until a settlement is reached.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

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