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June remains target date for agreement on core issues
2002-05-24 12:19:42

Nicosia, May 24 (CNA) -- Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has said that June must remain the target date for a Cyprus settlement and the achievement of an agreement on the core issues that make up the Cyprus question (governance, security, territory and properties).

He said the time between June and September can be used to examine the legal documents and details relating to an agreement and added that on December 12 the European Union will take its final decision on Cyprus' accession with or without a political settlement.|

"June cannot be a timeframe, it is a landmark date," Kasoulides told Radio Paphos.

The minister was referring to the target date of June, as first mentioned by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash at the start of UN-led direct talks in January this year. This date was accepted by President Glafcos Clerides, who negotiates with Denktash, and the UN Security Council.

Now Denktash is seeking to extend agreement on a negotiated settlement beyond June, in what many observers believe is an attempt to derail the Cyprus' accession course to the EU.

The minister said that Denktash considers the agreement on a solution as a treaty between two independent states and opposes the idea of agreeing on a constitution.

"The positions Denktash puts forward at the talks do not relate to one state but to some kind of linkage between two states," Kasoulides said.

Invited to comment on the Turkish threats to cause serious tension, in the event of Cyprus joining the EU prior to a settlement, Kasoulides cautioned against too much publicity on the matter.

"The eventuality of Turkey causing a serious incident in the region is rather improbable because of the repercussions Ankara will have to face, if it attempts such a move," Kasoulides said.

He said if there is a serious incident in Cyprus, this will be out of control because the Republic's armed forces, the National Guard, are now in a much better position to deal with it than they were when Turkish troops invaded in 1974.

He did not think Turkey would venture into such moves because of the economic problems it is facing, the relations it wants to maintain with the EU and its ties it wishes to retain with the world community.

Referring to the talks in Athens earlier this week between the governments of Cyprus and Greece, Kasoulides said these were the most "substantive discussions we have ever had" during which all possible scenarios were examined.

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