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FM: We shall work to achieve a settlement by next Autumn
2002-06-10 15:00:15

Luxembourg, Jun 10 (CNA) -- Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has told the European Union that the Greek Cypriot side will continue to work, in a constructive manner, for a negotiated settlement in Cyprus by next Autumn and said the window of opportunity now available for a solution is the best ever possibility to achieve this goal.

Addressing the 9th meeting of the Intergovernmental Conference in Luxembourg, he said Cyprus will make extra efforts to ensure it completes on time the legislative harmonisation process and described the time between now and the conclusion of membership talks as "indeed crucial."|

"This window of opportunity is the best possibility ever to reach a settlement and achieve reconciliation of our people," he said, adding that President Glafcos Clerides, representing the Greek Cypriot side at the UN-led peace talks, will continue his "constructive approach."

He said all possible avenues would be explored "so that a mutually acceptable solution to the Cyprus problem may be reached by next Autumn."

Nicosia, he added, fully agrees with the EU position that any future settlement should enable Cyprus, as a member state, to speak with one voice and implement its commitments.

President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash have been engaged in direct talks since mid January this year with a view at finding a comprehensive settlement.

Referring to the accession process, the Minister said that he expects this month's EU summit in Seville to "take stock of the progress achieved and give a decisive impetus to the successful completion of the accession negotiations during the Danish presidency" in the second half of the year.

"The remaining period till the conclusion of the accession negotiations is indeed a crucial one," he said, adding that efforts have been enhanced further for the timely completion of the legislative harmonisation process.

New institutions and mechanisms are in place wherever necessary, existing ones are strengthened and personnel is being trained as part of this effort, he said.

The Minister said he was pleased that four more chapters of the acquis communautaire have been provisionally closed and that progress has been achieved on the remaining two, agriculture and financial and budgetary provisions.

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