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European Commission prefers solution before accession
2002-11-26 17:46:09

by Nicos Bellos Brussels, Nov 26 (CNA) - The European Commission continues to prefer a Cyprus settlement prior to the island's accession to the European Union and supports the solution plan put forward by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, but reiterates that a settlement is not a precondition for Cyprus' membership.

Replying to questions, Jean-Christophe Filori, Spokesman for European Commissioner on Enlargement Gunter Verheugen, said a solution was preferable before the Copenhagen European Council in mid December.

He added that there was still time for a settlement before the European Council, adding that the European Commission supports Annan's plan for a solution.

However, he reiterated the Commission's position that a settlement was not a precondition for Cyprus' accession to the EU.|

Cyprus, which opened accession negotiations with the EU in 1998, has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

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