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Cyprus gets assurances from EU Commissioner
2002-06-05 10:14:00

Brussels, Jun 5 (CNA) -- European Union Commissioner responsible for enlargement Gunter Verheugen has assured Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides that Cyprus will be one of ten applicant countries to be invited to join the Union, at the Copenhagen summit in December.

1000:CYPPRESS:01 Speaking here after a meeting yesterday with Verheugen, Kasoulides said the German Commissioner also said that the EU Helsinki decision that a political settlement in Cyprus would facilitate accession but it is not a precondition for membership is still valid.|

"We had an excellent meeting, a useful encounter, during which Verheugen reiterated the position that Cyprus will be included in the first ten candidate countries that could join the EU, following a European Council decision in December," the minister said.

The Helsinki decision also said that "all relevant factors" will be taken into consideration when the EU is to decide on Cyprus' accession and called on Turkey, whose troops occupy the island's northern areas, to contribute to the solution of the problem.

"There is one way Turkey can halt the accession of a divided Cyprus and this is to contribute to reunite the island," Kasoulides said.

He explained that at present the relevant factors relate to the attitude of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides at the peace talks, which began in mid January this year under UN auspices.

The Foreign Minister said it was very important to hear Verheugen delivering such a clear cut message with regard to the Helsinki decision.

Kasoulides said he discussed ways the EU could contribute to the success of the direct talks President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash are engaged in.

He said this month's EU summit in Seville will take a stance on Cyprus.

While in Brussels, the minister addressed the European Policy Centre on "Cyprus in a new Europe" outlining the government positions on enlargement, developments in the EU and efforts to adopt a new treaty on how EU institutions should operate.

Referring to the Cyprus question, he said the Greek Cypriot side is working in line with UN resolutions to establish a bizonal, bicommunal federation and he called on the Turkish side to follow suit and help achieve a settlement.

He also stressed the need to have a solution that would safeguard the single sovereignty, citizenship and international personality of Cyprus.

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