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French FM: settlement before Copenhagen not a percondition
2002-10-26 21:23:25

Nicosia, Oct 26, (CNA) -- French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin has stressed that a political settlement of the Cyprus issue before the Copenhagen European Council in December is a ''fundamental issue'' but clarified that this is not a precondition for the island's accession to the EU.

Achieving a political settlement prior to the EU Council in Copenhagen is a fundamental issue, de Villepin said during a press conference in Luxembourg this week.

Invited to clarify whether the settlement is a precondition for accession, he said, ''Not at all''.|

This, he added, is a matter that the EU will have to discuss and examine at the EU Council in Brussels and before Copenhagen, but it is not a precondition, it is all about having the political will to find a settlement.

The French FM stressed the importance of the ongoing efforts to reach an agreement in the Cyprus issue since it is a delicate matter and one of strategic importance.

We have to do all we can, to get some movement in the matter and reach some conclusion by the Copenhagen summit, de Villepin said.

Meanwhile, Cyprus Foreign Minster Ionannis Kasoulides will be visiting Paris between 28 and 31 October for meetings there with Villepin and Noelle Lenoir, Minister Delegate for European Affairs.

During his stay in the French capital, Kasoulides will also meet with members of the Committee for Foreign Affairs of the French National Assembly and Senate as well as with their delegations to the EU.

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