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European parliament meeting hopes for solution before accession
2002-05-28 17:41:18

Nicosia, May 28 (CNA) - The participants of the 13th Meeting of the President of the European Parliament with the Presidents of the countries participating in the enlargement process, which took place in Riga, have adopted a joint statement, expressing the hope that "a comprehensive settlement can be reached on the future of the island, so that Cyprus as a whole will be able to join the EU".

In their statement, they also "recognise that a settlement cannot be a precondition of Cyprus' EU accession and recall the (1999) Helsinki European Council conclusions with regard to the Cyprus question". |

EU Helsinki Summit agreement on Cyprus says a political solution in Cyprus is desirable but not a precondition for membership.

The participants of the Meeting agreed that "2002 is the crucial year for the enlargement of the EU" and expressed "satisfaction at the prospect for the conclusion of accession negotiations with up to ten candidate countries by the end of this year", including Cyprus.

On Turkey, the statement notes that "the pre-accession strategy for Turkey should be strengthened according to the conclusions of the (2001) Laeken European Council, and in order to give support in meeting the criteria for beginning negotiations as soon as possible".

Cyprus, which opened accession negotiations with the EU in 1998, has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

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