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Cyprus on Simitis-Blair agenda
2002-10-29 10:35:17

by Kyriakos Tsioupras London, Oct 29 (CNA) ? Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis cautioned that extra care should be taken as regards Cyprus' accession to the European Union and the Cyprus problem.

Speaking here after a working luncheon with his British counterpart, Tony Blair, Simitis assured that everything regarding Cyprus' accession will progress without problems.

However he said "there is now a situation where the Greek Cypriot side wants to go ahead with accession and others might think that there is an opportunity to introduce some issues which, under other circumstances, the Greek Cypriot side and Greece would not accept".

The Greek Premier said it is necessary to investigate "what the situation is regarding these intentions and to point out that there are Security Council decisions" and that "any solution should allow the Cypriot state to function within the EU, to take decisions and allow the full implementation of the acquis communautaire".

Simitis stressed that the target for Cyprus' accession to the EU should be kept, according to the Helsinki decision, which does not require a solution to the Cyprus problem before accession. Blair, according to the Greek Premier, agreed to this effect. Simitis also said that Britain's stance on Cyprus is very positive.|

Speaking to Greek reporters, Simitis said his concerns that the Greek Cypriot side might be pressed to accept other issues as part of a solution, which it would not accept under other circumstances, "are not the result of facts, but opinion".

From experience within the EU and international cooperation, said Simitis, when one country secures a gain, it is possible for other countries to think, "since you have gained something, give something else in return".

"I would like to avert such associations and remind this to all", the Greek Premier added.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of the island's territory. It is expected to finalise accession negotiations with the EU by December, following a decision of the European Commission.

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