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French Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Michel Barnier Says EU Must Support Efforts for a Cyprus Solution
2008-07-03 10:20:32

Nicosia, Jun 27 - French Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Michel Barnier described the Cyprus problem as a European problem and noted that the EU must support ongoing efforts to reach a Cyprus settlement.

The French Minister, who was received Friday by President Christofias, said he discussed with the Cypriot President the Cyprus problem as well as issues concerning the forthcoming EU French Presidency.

Mr. Barnier, who visits Cyprus in view of the assumption by France of the European Union six-month rotating presidency on July 1st, expressed the French government's support towards efforts to reach a solution to the Cyprus problem.

He added that the meetings between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus are an encouraging step, stressing that the efforts should be supported by the EU.

Later on, the French Minister held talks with his Cypriot counterpart, Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment Michalis Polynikis.

In statements during a press conference that followed, Mr. Barnier expressed the solidarity of France with the Cypriot farmers who are facing a series of problems, caused mainly by drought, and assured that France will make its outmost to secure better conditions for them.

Mr. Barnier referred to the French Presidency’s priorities, emphasizing on France’s project for the Mediterranean in the framework of which the EU will promote food quality and safety of products imported to the EU.

Among the French Presidency’s priorities is the creation of mechanisms for crisis management in the field of agriculture, including drought problems, he added.

The Cypriot Minister said they discussed issues of mutual concern regarding agriculture development, as well as issues that Cyprus will promote during the French EU presidency.

Mr. Barnier also held a meeting with the Cypriot House Committee of Agriculture and reassured the Cypriot MPs that France will pursue a close cooperation with Cyprus in the field of agriculture.

The members of the Committee informed the French official about the problems the Cypriot agriculture is facing, such as drought. They also referred to the Turkish occupation of 37% of the Cypriot territory since 1974 which limits the potentials of the Cypriot agriculture for satisfactory production of goods.

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