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Kasoulides holds meetings in Paris
2002-10-30 10:13:04

Nicosia, Oct 30 (CNA) ? Cyprus can bring together Europe and the Middle East to establish peace and promote economic development in the region, said Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, speaking before the Foreign Affairs Committee of the French National Assembly chaired by Edouard Balladur.

Kasoulides, who is in the French capital for a three-day working visit also met his French counterpart Dominique de Villepin and discussed developments in the Cyprus problem and the island's EU accession course.

Addressing Kasoulides, Balladur referred to the accession course and the economic development of Cyprus, which ranks first among the candidate countries. He also expressed the wish that a united Cyprus can enter the EU in 2004 and recalled the relevant decisions of the 1999 Helsinki European Council and the European Commission report of October 9, 2002, where it was stressed that Cyprus fulfils the Copenhagen political and economic criteria.

Kasoulides described his meeting with French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin as "very good and friendly", noting they discussed the Cyprus problem and the island's EU accession course.

In statements to CNA from Paris, Kasoulides said the discussion regarding the EU enlargement was held in view of the Copenhagen European Council on December 12-13.|

He also noted they discussed the Cyprus problem and efforts to solve the issue. Bilateral relations and issues of mutual interest were also raised such as the Middle East, the situation in Iraq and the International Criminal Court.

Kasoulides, who returns to Cyprus on Thursday, also met European Affairs Minister, Noelle Lenoir.

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 the end of the year.

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