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De Soto briefs the Danish Presidency on direct talks
2002-07-23 19:11:50

Nicosia, Jul 22 (CNA) -- The UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto has briefed Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs Per Stig Moller, whose country is currently holding the EU rotating Presidency, on developments in the UN-led direct talks between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash since January this year, with a view to reach a comprehensive settlement of the protracted Cyprus problem.

According to a Danish Presidency press release issued today, speaking after Friday's meeting in Copenhagen, Moller said "the conclusions from the European Council's meeting in Helsinki in 1999 remain the key reference" for Cyprus and that "the European Union underlines that a political settlement will facilitate the accession of Cyprus to the European Union."|

"If no settlement has been reached by the completion of accession negotiations, the decision on accession will be made without a solution being a precondition. The EU will take account of all relevant factors," the Danish Foreign Minister added.

He noted "we agreed that all involved parties now must do their utmost to reach a solution as soon as possible."

"I emphasised that the European Union's enlargement calendar is fixed. The European Council in Seville confirmed that the European Union is ready to conclude negotiations with the candidate countries that are ready by the end of 2002," Moller stressed.

He also said the UN's role "is absolutely central to the efforts of finding a solution" and that de Soto will continue to be present at the talks."

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.

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