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Croatia follows with interest efforts for Cyprus solution, says new Ambassador
2006-06-07 15:24:31

Nicosia, Jun 7 (CNA) - The Republic of Croatia follows with great interest the process of reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem and hopes that it will be solved in a short time, by a mutual agreement and to the satisfaction of both sides, the new Ambassador of Croatia, stationed in Rome, Tomislav Vidosevic said.

He was speaking during the presentation of his credentials to President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos, who reiterated Cyprus' firm commitment to the European perspective of the Western Balkan countries.

Presenting his credentials, Vidosevic said President of Croatia Stjepan Mesic is looking forward to President Papadopoulos' forthcoming official visit to Croatia later this year. He noted the friendly relations existing between the two countries on all levels.

Vidosevic said that the two countries are strongly bound by common interests in the South-Eastern European region and by mutual efforts aimed at achieving peace, stability and prosperity in the region in the European context.

The new Ambassador said this region is ''our close neighbourhood and the Croatian government follows with great attention all the developments within it, while investing efforts to strengthen the democratic processes and to create its European future,'' adding that ''it is very important to us that our efforts in that sense be recognised as positive and effective, and in that sense the exchange of the points of view is of great help to us.''

''The Republic of Croatia with great interest follows the process of reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem and we hope that it will be solved in short time, by a mutual agreement and to the satisfaction of both sides. In that sense, we are proud that the participation of the Croatian officers within the UNFICYP has been valued positively by Cyprus. Even more so for having in mind that Croatia, due to its own recent history and its experience, can contribute to the solution of certain problems,'' he said.

Referring to Croatia's efforts to become a full member of the Euro-Atlantic integrations, Vidosevic said it is not an easy task but Croatia has always been able to count on the friendly support of the Republic of Cyprus, which is now a very active EU member, and for this ''we are very grateful.''

Replying, President Papadopoulos said relations between the two countries have been friendly both on a bilateral and a multilateral level, in international organisations and other bodies. However, he said there are now new opportunities available for the two countries in promoting and strengthening bilateral relations.

On Croatia's accession negotiations with the European Union, President Papadopoulos congratulated the progress achieved so far and encouraged Croatia to keep up the pace of reform. He emphasised that ''Cyprus is prepared to use its influence as a member state in a constructive way and I take this opportunity to reiterate our firm commitment to the European perspective of the Western Balkan countries.''

Turning to the Cyprus problem, President Papadopoulos said that despite untiring efforts throughout the years to reach a viable settlement, it remains unresolved.

He pledged that ''the desire to put an end to the suffering of our people has prompted us to promote and support a bizonal, bicommunal, federal solution.''

''We remain committed to this, as it could bring about the genuine reunification of our country and would serve the legitimate interests of all Cypriots. We are committed to working constructively for such a solution within the UN framework and on the basis of relevant UN Resolutions, international law and the founding principles of the European Union,'' he pointed out.

President Papadopoulos said Cyprus expects the Turkish side to respond positively to the procedure agreed in Paris with the UN Secretary-General last February. The Paris Communique also notes that it would ''improve the atmosphere for further talks, if progress could be achieved on further disengagement of forces and demilitarisation on the island, on the complete de-mining of Cyprus, and on the issue of Famagusta.'' Progress on these issues would, more than any other confidence building measure, also contribute to the restoration of trust for further talks, he said.

In addition, he said Turkey is expected ''to respond to the goodwill we have exhibited and meet all its political and legal obligations vis-a-vis the European Union and its member states, including the unconditional ratification of the Protocol extending its customs union to the ten new member states'' and stressed that ''it is unacceptable that Turkey demands trade-offs in order to perform its own obligations towards the European Union.''

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