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Government welcomes remarks by EU senior official
2002-05-29 13:18:27

Nicosia, May 29 (CNA) -- The government has welcomed statements by a high-ranking European Union official that Cyprus will join the Union, if it concludes successfully its accession negotiations.

"I would like to highlight two recent statements by High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana with regard to the Cyprus question, that assume particular significance because they follow, interpret and clarify fully previous remarks, for which Solana was criticized," Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said today in a written statement.

Speaking in Copenhagen last week, Solana said the decision on how to handle Cyprus within the EU has already been taken.

"If Cyprus concludes in a satisfactory manner its accession negotiations, it will join the EU. The problem of division will not have been solved but Cyprus will join the Union," Solana added.|

About a month ago Solana was reported to have said that if there is no solution to the island's political problem, then only part of the country will join the EU. Brussels said in December 1999 that a political settlement would facilitate Cyprus' accession but it is not a precondition for membership.

Replying to questions by a Greek Euro MP on his reported comments, Solana explained that he had merely expressed concern that failure to reach a settlement in Cyprus prior to accession would mean that EU laws and regulations will not be able to be implemented in the part of Cyprus which is not under the jurisdiction of the government of the Republic.

Solana also said that the 1999 decision at Helsinki is still valid.

UN-led efforts to reunite Cyprus, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion, were rekindled earlier this year with direct talks between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash. Peace talks are continuing with a view to find a comprehensive settlement. CNA MM/2002

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