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Casini says foundations for Cyprus' EU accession have been laid
2002-07-08 21:54:13

Nicosia, Jul 8 (CNA) - The foundations have been laid for Cyprus' accession to the EU, President of the Chamber of Deputies of Italy Pier Ferdinando Casini stressed here today, adding that the lack of a solution to the Cyprus problem was no reason for Cyprus not entering the EU.

Speaking through an interpreter after a meeting with President of the House of Representatives Demetris Christofias, Casini said that "the papers" for signing Cyprus' accession to the EU are ready, as the island has concluded its negotiations with the EU, satisfying all parameters set by the Union.

"The solution of the Cyprus problem is an issue that interests the EU very much" Casini said, adding that "Europe needs Cyprus, and Italy wants Cyprus within the EU".

Speaking to the press, Christofias said they decided to resume the Parliamentary Friendship Groups of the two countries, adding that soon there will be concrete results.|

He also welcomed Casini's decision to organise the next Conference on Mediterranean Identity between both countries next year in Rome.

The last Conference took place in 2001 in Nicosia. Christofias said the conclusions of the Nicosia Conference would soon be published in Greek and Italian.

During the meeting, Christofias briefed the Italian official on Cyprus' course to the EU as well as on the latest developments in the Cyprus issue.

He thanked Casini for the stance of the Italian government and parliament as regards the Cyprus problem.

Christofias said that Italy's stance is based on principles for a just and viable solution on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions.

He also said that Cyprus and Italy wish for a more effective Mediterranean policy and that they discussed about the EuroMediterranean cooperation.

Today, Casini was also received by President of the Republic Glafcos Clerides and also had a meeting with Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides. After the meetings no statements were made to the press.

Later today, the Italian official visited the ceasefire line in Nicosia accompanied by the town's Mayor, Michalakis Zampelas.

Casini departs from the island this evening.

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