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Van der Meer: Advantages to linking solution with accession
2002-11-25 18:22:34

Nicosia, Nov 25 (CNA) -- Head of the European Commission to Cyprus, Adrian Van der Meer, has said there are many advantages to linking the solution of the Cyprus problem with the island's accession to the European Union.

Speaking after meeting Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides whom he informed on the progress on Cyprus' accession process, Van der Meer described this week as "very crucial" because he said the Commission "hopes to finalise negotiations on the outstanding issues."

The EU ambassador said he was still confident that a deal can be reached on the UN Secretary-General's plan before the Copenhagen European Council on December 12-13.|

He said he was still confident that a "deal can be reached" on the UN Secretary-General's plan before Copenhagen, adding "we will make together with all others to use all diplomatic channels to achieve that goal."

Asked whether a referendum should be held on the solution and the accession, the European Commission diplomat said, "these are draft questions on the UN plan."

He called on journalists to "see what will be the outcome of the negotiations also as far as this question of the referendum is concerned." Obviously, he added, "we feel big advantages in linking the two issues."

Cyprus is among the ten countries which the European Commission recommended they finalise accession negotiations by the end of the year.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island's territory.

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