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Vassiliou: We will face Turkish reaction responsibly
2002-06-19 16:38:11

Nicosia, Jun 19 (CNA) -- Cyprus Chief Negotiator with the EU George Vassiliou and Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou have agreed that Turkey might try to create tension in Cyprus, in an effort to prevent the island's accession to the EU.

Vassiliou told CNA after meeting Papandreou yesterday in Athens that he and the Greek minister shared the view that possible provocations by Turkey "must be faced in a responsible, sober and determined way."|

He said that Papandreou expressed certainty "that as long as we remain stable and continue to carry on, finally accession will come, either with the solution of the Cyprus problem, for which we hope for, or without a solution."

The Cyprus Chief Negotiator noted that Papandreou was confident, certain and satisfied with Cyprus' accession course "as he had ascertained a climate in favour of Cyprus, in Europe".

Papandreou also noted, according to Vassiliou, the comments EU Enlargement Commissioner Gunter Verheugen made Monday, in Luxemburg, before the Foreign Ministers of the 15 EU member countries, concerning Cyprus' advanced accession negotiations, Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides' effort to solve the Cyprus problem and Vergeugen's statement that the lack of progress in the UN-led direct talks on Cyprus was not due to the Greek Cypriot side's lack of effort.

Commenting on Verheugen's statement that the solution of the Cyprus problem must comply with the acquis communautaire, giving Cyprus the potentiality to speak with one voice in the EU, Vassiliou said "it is actually an answer to what the British representative for Cyprus Lord David Hannay had said recently in an interview with CNN Turk". Hannay had spoken of "two peoples" in Cyprus.

The former Cypriot President will meet today Greek Premier Costas Simitis and have a working lunch with Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Tasos Yiannitsis.

President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash have been engaged to UN-led direct talks since mid January this year, with a view to negotiate until a comprehensive settlement is achieved.

No progress has been achieved so far because of Denktash's insistence on "two states" in Cyprus, which has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

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