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Danish MP calls on Ankara to take decisions on Cyprus
2002-06-03 10:53:16

By Maria Koniotou--Copenhagen, Jun 3 (CNA) -- The president of the Danish parliamentary committee dealing with European Union affairs has called on Ankara to make up its mind with regard to Cyprus' division, if it is serious about joining the Union.

Committee president Claus Larsen-Jensen said that Denmark would like Cyprus to be part of the first wave of enlargement and recalled the EU decision that a political settlement is not a precondition for Cyprus' accession.

He expressed hope that Ankara will understand that Cyprus' accession would also benefit Turkey itself.

Speaking after a 45-minute long meeting with President Glafcos Clerides, Jensen said "what is very important for us during the Danish presidency (July- December) is what is going to be the solution of the Cyprus question."

With regard to the decision of the EU Council in December, he said that "one would like to get in ten countries, including Cyprus, and of course we would like to see a solution of the Cyprus question before, if possible."|

Asked what would happen if there is no settlement, he said that at the Helsinki meeting it was decided that it is not a precondition that there is a solution but it would be the best for everybody if there is one.

"I think the game is set already and we have to see how it is getting developed, we hope the two sides in Cyprus will be able to reach an agreement," he added.

Invited to say if the Danish parliament would approve the enlargement treaty, he noted that Cyprus is in the front line anyway, among the top ten and very far ahead with membership talks.

On Turkey's accession to the EU and possible pressure from Brussels in relation to Cyprus, Jensen said "hopefully Turkey will understand that it is in their interest too that Cyprus is becoming a part of the EU".

He said that while on a visit to Turkey he told the government that if they want to join the EU, where there are no internal borders, they have to make up their mind about the division of Cyprus.

"It is a very important question for Turkey. If they want to join the EU, they also have to find out if there is any reason for having a very hot confrontation on the Cyprus issue because if Turkey is joining, why (maintain) then the division of Cyprus," he told CN?.

He said Denmark is trying not to complicate the accession negotiations for Cyprus and added "everything seems to be ready on the Greek Cypriot side before December" when the EU presidency is expected to invite the newcomers to join the Union.

"We still have the strong hope that a solution would be found on the Cyprus question," he said.

Asked if he is optimistic or pessimistic, he said he was a realist.

"If you are too pessimistic, you do not find a resolution and there are some ways and means of finding solutions but I think it is better to be realistic," he said.

He expressed hope that the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides are realistic and that they look at the prospects in the future, the development of the EU and see the Cyprus question in that frame.

President Clerides is seeing the Dannish premier today.

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