Cox says there is still hope for unified Cyprus joining EU
By Rebekah Gregoriades--
Seville, Jun 21 (CNA) - European Parliament President Pat Cox believes
there is still time for a unified Cyprus to join the European Union and noted
that the year 2002 is the year of enlargement. He said the European
Parliament strongly supports Cyprus' accession to the EU and that the
optimum solution would be a unified Cyprus joining.
Asked by CNA to what extent the lack of progress in UN peace talks to solve the Cyprus problem could complicate matters, Cox referred to his recent visit to Cyprus and the discussions he had on the island with President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, noting that "I can certainly attest to the fact that there is a very strong desire by President Clerides to, if possible, find a way to bring Cyprus at ease with itself into the European Union".
Speaking at a press conference he gave after discussions with the European Council members meeting in Seville, Cox noted that "there is still time and so one still has some hope".
"Whatever the scenarios are, I think there are a few messages that the European Parliament could give to Cyprus. One is that we strongly support Cyprus entering the EU. Two, that there can be no external veto on the right of Cyprus to be considered on its own merits. Three, that the optimum solution would be a unified Cyprus to join", Cox said.|
Referring to his discussions this morning with the European Council members, Cox said he focused on EU enlargement and immigration.
He said "the year 2002 is politically the year of enlargement" and noted that "no problem will be solved, and nothing simplified, by postponement".
Cox added that the European Parliament has decided to organise "a special plenary session in November, where elected representatives of the accession states will be fully integrated into our proceedings and a debate on enlargement".
On immigration, Cox said he came to Seville directly from a meeting in Bari, Italy, of the EuroMediterranean Parliamentary Forum, during which a resolution was adopted stating the necessity "to establish a strong link between immigration policy and cooperation and development aid policy with a view to reducing disparities between countries of origin, transit and destination and promoting the economic and social development of the least developed countries".
Cyprus, which opened accession negotiations with the EU in 1998, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. President Clerides and Denktash launched direct talks in January this year, with a view to solve the problem.