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Cyprus settlement not a precondition for accession, says Denmark
2002-07-03 08:22:37

by Nicos Bellos Brussels, Jul 3 (CNA) -- The political settlement of the Cyprus question is not a precondition for the accession of Cyprus to the European Union, Danish Premier and current president of the European Council Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said.

1450:CYPPRESS:02 He said EU enlargement is a priority for his country but noted three obstacles that need to be ironed out, which are financing enlargement, the question of Cyprus and the Irish referendum for the ratification of the Treaty of Nice.|

"Cyprus has done well in the accession negotiations. Cyprus is the country that has closed most negotiation chapters - 28 out of 31 - and as a candidate country, Cyprus has a right to accession once the country is ready," he told the European Parliament.

However, he added, "at the same time it is a problem that the island remains divided."

"The Helsinki European Council determined that a solution to this problem would be an advantage but not a condition for accession," he said.

"At the same time, it was emphasised that a final decision will be taken on the basis of all relevant factors and the Danish presidency will continue the work on this basis," he said.

Rasmussen called on "all the parties involved, on both sides, to do their utmost to find a solution as swiftly as possible."

He said the motto of the Danish presidency is "one Europe for all our peoples, one Europe with freedom, peace and prosperity."

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