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Chief Negotiator calls for vigilance regarding reports on Cyprus
2002-09-19 07:11:45

Nicosia, Sep 18 (CNA) - Cyprus' Chief Negotiator in accession talks with the European Union, George Vassiliou, called for "nerves of steel" and "vigilance" in order to tackle any challenges in the island's accession course, adding that until December 14, there will continuously be press reports that may cause concern.

Referring to yesterday's Reuters news agency dispatch which quoted an anonymous diplomat as saying the EU should think seriously about letting Cyprus in the next wave of enlargement for fear of disrupting the ongoing peace effort, Vassiliou said "every cloud has a silver lining".

He pointed out that "there have been many clear statements on the part of the European Commission" regarding this issue, and advised journalists not to overreact to such rumours.|

A second dispatch from Reuters on the same story said the Commission was sure to recommend that Cyprus would be technically ready in December to wrap up accession talks and join the bloc.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. President Clerides and Denktash have been engaged in direct talks since January this year, with a view to reach a comprehensive settlement.

Vassiliou said that on October 9 he would be going to Brussels to receive the progress report on Cyprus, adding that he has already seen it and is satisfied with its content.

The Chief Negotiator replied negatively when asked if the report associates Cyprus' accession with a settlement of the political problem.

Regarding the implementation of the acquis communautaire in the areas of the British Bases, Vassiliou said the issue is on the right track. "We have not yet reached a final agreement but there is good will on the part of the European Commission and Britain to handle a series of problems which Cypriot citizens who live in the Bases area will face in the future", he said.

The Commission, he added, wants to finalise the issue in a way that will satisfy all, and said he anticipates that it will be completed by the end of this month or early October at the latest.

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