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Verheugen commends Greek Cypriot stance at talks
2002-06-13 22:04:09

Nicosia, Jun 13 (CNA) -- European Commissioner Gunter Verheugen has commended the "constructive spirit and persistence" of the Greek Cypriot side at the UN-led peace talks and said the EU decision that a political settlement is not a precondition for Cyprus' accession will not create any problem to the country's accession course.

Verheugen also said he did not expect a solution of the Cyprus question in June, as originally anticipated, and said peace talks are set to continue further than the June target date.

The EU Commissioner, who was speaking after a meeting in Strasbourg with leader of the Social Democrats Movement Yiannakis Omirou, briefed leaders of socialist parties of candidate countries about EU enlargement and accession negotiations.|

He welcomed the constructive approach of the Greek Cypriot side at the peace talks and said consequently the Helsinki decision on Cyprus' accession will not pose any obstacles to the country's membership course.

His comments were made as Turkey, which occupies one third of Cyprus' territory since 1974, is trying to create tension in the region with the dispatch of more troops to the island and the arrival of search vessels in the territorial waters of the Republic as well as violations of Greek air space.

Meanwhile, in the European Parliament, Spain's state secretary for European affairs Ramon de Miguel described Cyprus as "an excellent candidate" for EU membership, in that it has closed provisionally more chapters in its accession negotiations than the rest, a total of 28.

Addressing the Parliament, he said that during his recent visit to Cyprus he pressed on with the need to find an agreement on the four core issues of the Cyprus question, which are governance, security, territory and property, by the end of June.

De Miguel said the EU cannot wait forever and that the EU Council in October should take note of an agreement between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides.

He stressed that the state to emerge from an eventual agreement should speak with one voice in Europe and have institutions that are able to implement EU laws and regulations.

Direct talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash have been going on since January this year but no progress towards an agreement is in sight yet.

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