Italy hopes Papadopoulos - Annan meeting will be fruitful
by Maria Fili
Rome, Feb 21 (CNA) -- Italian Vice - Minister of Foreign Affairs Gianpaolo Betamio expressed hope that the forthcoming meeting between Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos and United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, in Paris, will be a fruitful one.
Speaking after a meeting here with Cyprus House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias, who is paying an official visit to Italy, Betamio said that Rome hopes that the meeting between President Papadopoulos and Kofi Annan «will bring the positive outcome that we expect and on which we have been thoroughly briefed by Mr Christofias”.
Cypriot House Speaker expressed his gratitude for the interest shown by Betamio regarding the developments in the Cypriot problem, especially the forthcoming meeting between President Papadopoulos and UN Secretary General.
«The Vice Minister asked me a very important question, namely, how could Italy, an EU member state, contribute to the termination of the crisis in the Mediterranean with the resolution of the Cyprus problem”, Christofias said.
He added that he expressed the view that Turkey, a country that aspires to enter the EU, should realize that she has to respect the principles on which the Union was founded.
Asked whether there is any possibility that Turkey accedes the EU with the Cyprus problem unsolved, the Italian Vice - Minister said that his country hopes that Turkey will join the EU “without leaving a very serious issue open”.
''Our belief is that all EU member states should solve all their domestic problems and problems in their region”, he added.
Betamio also informed the Cypriot House Speaker on initiatives that could be undertaken, in the framework of the EU, in order to improve the situation in the Mediterranean as soon as possible.
Cypriot House Speaker said that during the meeting he underlined that the substance of the Cyprus issue is not the differences between Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots, “which exist”, but the Turkish occupation of the northern part of the Republic of Cyprus.
He added that he expressed the view that the occupation and the external interventions in the Cyprus issue should be terminated, noting that the Italian Vice - Minister paid a lot of attention to the views expressed.
Betamio referred to the excellent bilateral relations between Cyprus and Italy, in the commercial, political and cultural fields, noting though that there should be an improvement of their cultural relations, since «the cultural aspect prepares the ground for all the rest”.