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Government welcomes EU Commissioner's remarks
2002-06-18 11:17:33

Nicosia, Jun 18 (CNA) -- The government has said it was pleased with comments a senior European Union official has made with regard to Cyprus' accession negotiations and the Greek - Cypriot side's stance at the UN-led peace talks.

Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou welcomed Gunter Verheugen's reference to Cyprus' impressive record in relation to the harmonization effort and his remark that the Greek Cypriot side shows good intentions at the talks.

"I would like to highlight Verheugen's point that we have achieved remarkable results in our accession course and his view that both he and the EU are in constant touch with the UN to ensure that a solution in the Cyprus question will be consistent with the acquis communautaire and that Cyprus will speak with one voice as an EU member," Papapetrou said.|

Verheugen made this assessment at a meeting in Luxembourg with EU foreign ministers. He called on the Turkish side to make a greater effort to help find a settlement and said that other key players in the international scene share this view.

Spokesman Papapetrou welcomed in particular Verheugen's reference to the "good intentions" of the Greek Cypriot side which is making significant attempts to find a negotiated settlement, as he said.

This assessment, Papapetrou pointed out, is shared by other international organizations, something he described as "important."

The spokesman said it was very positive to hear Verheugen say that the EU will take into consideration the efforts and the political will the Greek Cypriot side has displayed at the talks, when it takes its final decision on the Cypriot application for accession.

The EU said in December 1999 that a political settlement in Cyprus would facilitate accession but it is not a precondition for it. It also said at the time of the final decision on enlargement it will take into account all relevant factors.

Direct talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Dentkash have been going on since mid January this year, in the presence of UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto.

No progress has been achieved so far because of Denktash's insistence on two states in Cyprus. Cyprus opened accession negotiations with the EU in 1998 and has so far provisionally closed 28 out of 31 chapters of the acquis communautaire. It has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.

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