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Greek Cypriots & Turkish Cypriots urge for Cyprus settlement
2002-10-30 14:32:44

Nicosia, Oct 30 (CNA) ? An agreement on Cyprus before the European Council in Copenhagen in December ''is not only desirable, but also within reach,'' and succeeding in this would create a new relationship between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, said a statement issued after an unofficial meeting in Athens last week between eight Cypriots from both communities, hosted by the International Peace Research Institute of Oslo (PRIO) and the Greek-Turkish Forum (GTF).

Taking part from the Greek Cypriot side were Christos Stylianides, Androulla Vassiliou, Kate Clerides and Takis Hadjidemetriou and from the Turkish Cypriot side Mustafa Akinci, Vedat Celik, Ali Erel and Kutlay Erk.

Participants said it was ''an extremely important time for Cyprus," noting that the EU Summit in Copenhagen represented ''an important date by which we sincerely hope there will be significant progress towards a settlement."|

Acknowledging ''the many problems in doing so and the complexities of the issues to be discussed," the participants said "an agreement, at least in outline, by the time of the EU Summit is not only desirable but also within reach."

They said success would require ''not only the vision of a mutually beneficial common future, but also determination, good will and clear thinking on all sides.''

"Success will open the way for a new relationship between Grrek and Turkish Cypriots, as they together enjoy the advantages of membership of the EU."

Referring to the possible tabling of a plan for a Cyprus settlemnt by the UN Secretary-General, the participants said ''it deserves to be taken seriously and carefully considered without pre-judgment and should be subjected to the tests of principle, mutual acceptability and long term viability.''

They called on both parties to the negotiations to show ''creativity and flexibility'' in finding ways to protect the legitimate interests of both sides and to build on common interests.

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

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