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Verheugen: Cyprus problem can be solved prior to December EU Summit
2002-09-05 15:53:44

By Nicos Bellos -- Brussels, Sep 5 (CNA) - EU Enlargement Commissioner Gunter Verheugen appeared today optimistic that a solution to the Cyprus question could be reached prior to the EU Copenhagen Summit, in December, that will decide about EU candidate countries accession to the EU.

Verheugen's spokesman Jean-Christophe Filori also reiterated that a settlement in Cyprus is not a precondition for the island's accession to the EU.|

Verheugen met here today with the Turkish Foreign Minister Sukru Sina Gurel with whom he discussed among others developments in the problem of Cyprus, divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.
Filori said Verheugen was optimistic that a solution to the Cyprus issue could be reached before the Copenhagen EU Summit and added that although the EU would like to see a solution prior to accession, this was not a precondition for Cyprus accession.

Referring to the reforms in Turkey, Filori said that the Enlargement Commissioner welcomed the reforms, but focused on the need for their implementation.

Filori added that at this point, the Commission is examining whether these reforms are being applied.

Invited to comment Ankara's assessment that Turkey fulfilled the Maastricht political criteria once it had adopted these reforms Filori underlined that is up to the EU to decide about that.

Cyprus opened accession negotiations with the EU in 1998.

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