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Cox says two sides must grasp historic opportunity
2002-11-26 16:25:06

by Nicos Bellos Brussels, Nov 26 (CNA) - UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's plan for a Cyprus settlement provides a unique, historical opportunity for a solution and the two sides on the island must grasp this opportunity, President of the European Parliament Pat Cox said today.

Speaking during a meeting with the presidents of the parliaments of candidate for EU accession countries, Cox said that on his visit to Cyprus on December 9 he would meet with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, the latter's health permitting, so as to encourage him to reach an agreement before the Copenhagen European Council.

Taking the floor, Commissioner on Enlargement Gunter Verheugen agreed with Cox and expressed hope that the Turkish Cypriots would react positively to the plan before the European Council and an agreement would emerge.

Referring to Annan's plan, the Commissioner said the fundamental structure of a new state and the new decision-making procedure, as proposed through the blueprint, would not interfere with the implementation of the acquis communautaire.|

Verheugen expressed certainty that the EU's enlargement would be decided in Copenhagen and there would be no postponement.

Cyprus, which opened accession negotiations with the EU in 1998, has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Kofi Annan submitted a plan for a solution on November 11.

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