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Greece & Cyprus pledge to continue supporting UN-led efforts, EU course
2002-10-18 13:40:04

by Gregoris Savva Athens, Oct 18 (CNA) ? Efforts for a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem, based on the relevant Security Council decisions are stalled due to Ankara and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's negative stance, said Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis after talks with visiting President of the Republic Glafcos Clerides here Friday.

Greece and Cyprus will continue supporting the efforts of the Secretary- General "for a solution within the framework of Security Council resolutions", Simitis said.

Simitis reconfirmed that for Greece, "the Cyprus problem remains the major and dominant issue, the national problem, which demands national unity and readiness". He also expressed unlimited support to the efforts of President Clerides to solve the Cyprus problem and the island's accession to the EU.

Regarding Cyprus' European Union accession course, the Greek Premier said "it was confirmed that things, as they arise from the European Commission's report which justifies the extensive effort of the Greek and Cypriot governments, are progressing well and secure Cyprus' European perspective".

The Greek Premier announced a series of visits he will pay to European capitals before the Copenhagen European Council where the political decision for the enlargement of the EU will be taken.

During the talks, the identical views of both governments on the procedure for a Cyprus settlement and the island's accession to the EU were reconfirmed.

Simitis and Clerides covered in detail the latest developments on Cyprus, and the results of the meeting in New York earlier this month of the UN Secretary- General Kofi Annan with President Clerides and Rauf Denktash, the peace process and the completion of accession negotiations at the European Council in Copenhagen in December.

On his part, President Clerides said he was pleased because "we reached unanimous decisions on how we should handle the issues which we had prepared for discussion".

"There is no disagreement but complete accord", Clerides said, and thanked the Greek government for its support to the island's accession course and efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.|

"We have ascertained", said Simitis, "that substantial progress on the positions of the Greek Cypriot side has been achieved. We have presented our views, but the other side, Mr. Denktash, remains intransigent", Simitis said. He also pointed out that "Ankara's stance remains negative, therefore, despite our constructive proposals, no progress has been achieved".

"The effort for a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem, based on the decisions of the UN and the Security Council, has not progressed due to Mr. Denktash and Ankara's negative attitude", Simitis stressed.

On the island's accession course, the Greek Premier said specific points of the 2002 Progress Report had been analysed. "We have pointed out that as far as the economic and social dimensions, the progress report remarks that Cyprus ranks first among candidate countries".

Simitis said that despite the fact that no progress has been achieved on the political problem, the Helsinki agreement is still valid, according to the European Commission's report, which provides that a solution to the political problem is not a pre-requisite for Cyprus' accession to the EU.

On his European tour, Simitis said he will visit from now until the EU Copenhagen Summit his counterparts in France, Britain, Italy and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, stressing the purpose of these visits is to prepare the Copenhagen Summit.

Finally, Simitis described bilateral relations as "excellent", adding that during the agreement the cooperation within the framework of the joint defence pact between Cyprus and Greece was substantiated.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island's northern third.

No real progress has been achieved so far in the UN-led direct talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash because of the latter's demand to create two separate states in Cyprus. Clerides is working for a bizonal bicommunal federation, as prescribed by UN decisions.

At the same time, the European Commission decided earlier this month that Cyprus, along with nine other candidate for EU membership states, can finalise accession negotiations by the end of the year.

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