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Pat Cox hopeful for a Cyprus settlement
2002-10-09 17:46:05

by Maria Koniotou Brussels, Oct 9 (CNA) - President of the European Parliament Pat Cox said here today that although the solution of the Cyprus problem is not a precondition for Cyprus' accession to the EU the optimum condition is for a settled Cyprus to enter the Union and expressed hope that a solution will be found soon.

Invited to comment on recent statements of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktassh that if the EU accepts Cyprus as its member, "Cyprus talks are ended and the island is divided for ever" Cox said he hoped ''we will find conditions over the coming weeks that will encourage Mr. Denktash and the new Turkish administration after the election to recognize this is a special moment and to seize the moment and to see all of the positive dimensions which can flow from it.''

He also noted ''the engagement of Kofi Annan in a very personal way and the determination by the UN to press for a definitive and comprehensive settlement.''

''We don't yet know the condition on which Cyprus will enter. We know that Cyprus has made enormous progress in the negotiations on the acquis and therefore that definite choice will be the entry of the republic of Cyprus'', President of the EP underlined.

He also noted that ''there has been a passage of time on the dialogue on Cyprus so far without a definitive result'' and said he was aware that ''in the weeks to come the UN in a more focused and determined way will seek to encourage the parties to seize this moment."

"The optimum condition is for a settled Cyprus to enter. It is not a precondition but we should reach for the best'' he added.

Invited to say what will happen if no solution is found by December Cox said that ''Helsinki has given us the only formulation so far, that there can be no external veto on the entry of Cyprus and that the decision should be made in the light of all relevant circumstances and that remains the political position, it has not changed and I believe it is on that basis the decision will be made.''|

Cyprus, one of the 10 candidate countries which are expected to join the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops occupied 37% of its territory.

UN-led talks between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Denktash, aiming to find a comprehensive settlement of the problem, have been going on since mid January this year, without bearing fruit since Denktash insists on its position for ''two sovereign states'' on the island, something which contradicts UN resolutions providing for a bicommunal, biozonal federation.

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