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Cyprus welcomes EU summit decisions on enlargement
2002-10-26 21:16:06

Nicosia, Oct 26 (CNA) -- Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has described as "very important" the decision by the Brussels European Union summit to ratify the Commission's proposals to conclude accession negotiations with Cyprus and another nine candidate countries and have them join the Union in 2004.

The minister said he was also pleased with the EU adoption of a common position on the issue of the Union's plans to set up a rapid deployment force in relation to NATO, but noted that this is subject to an agreement with NATO members as well.|

"The summit endorsement of the Commission's recommendations is a very important development for Cyprus' accession course and for EU enlargement in general," he said today, invited to comment on the matter.

He noted that Cyprus was not treated separately from the rest of the applicant countries and said it was very welcoming to see some of the obstacles in the way to enlargement being removed, such as the Irish referendum which in the end ratified the Treaty of Nice and the approval by the Dutch parliament of the process of enlargement.

On the EU common stand on the creation of a rapid deployment force, in relation to NATO, he said it was very good to see the Union adopting a common position.

In the past, Greece had a different position on the matter from that adopted by its EU partners and this had created problems with NATO ally Turkey with regard to the use of NATO facilities by the EU force. Ankara wanted to have a say in the decision making process of the EU as far the use of NATO bases in its territory were concerned.

The minister said this matter is not closed because the Brussels decision will have to be discussed at the NATO summit in Prague and there must be agreement with NATO.

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