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Kasoulides:EU cannot wait for Turkey to decide on Cyprus
2002-09-14 16:37:40

By Apostolis Zoupaniotis-- United Nations, Sep 14 (CNA) -- The European Union cannot wait for Turkey to make up its mind about a solution of the Cyprus question, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has said, in reply to warnings by his Turkish counterpart that Cyprus' accession to the EU prior to a political settlement would create many problems and hamper the peace effort.

Kasoulides said the Turkish threats leveled at Brussels are not helping the ongoing UN-led peace effort and are far from meeting the recommendations of the UN Secretary General Kofi Anan to the Turkish side to be more constructive at the talks to facilitate a negotiated agreement.

"The European Union cannot wait until Turkey decides when it is time to solve the Cyprus question. If the problem is not settled by 12 December, Brussels will go ahead with our accession, as planned," Kasoulides said in response to Soukru Sina Gurel's speech before the UN General Assembly.|

The EU is expected in December to invite Cyprus and another nine candidate countries to join the Union. The EU has repeatedly said it would prefer to see a reunited Cyprus becoming a member but also said that a political settlement is not a precondition for accession.

Gurel claimed that the EU decision to accept Cyprus without a solution "has made an agreed settlement even more elusive" and warned that such a development would lead to tensions in the island and the eastern Mediterranean, reiterating his long standing view that the application for accession by the Republic of Cyprus was "illegitimate."

Dismissing these claims, Kasoulides said Britain (one of the three guarantor powers of Cyprus' independence - Greece and Turkey are the other two) is categorical about the legitimacy of the application for accession, as it has said so in a recent document distributed among Assembly members.

The minister said the Turkish threats are not helping the peace effort nor are they to going to force the EU to change its views on Cyprus' membership.

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