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Blair: Cyprus will join EU in any event
2002-11-29 12:28:39

by Kyriakos Tsioupras -- London, Nov 29 (CNA) -- British Prime Minister Toni Blair has said that Cyprus will in any event join the EU and noted that it was partly as a result of the representations of the British government that it was made absolutely clear that Cyprus should be able to join the EU even if there is not a final settlement of the Cyprus problem.

Answering a question by British Labour MP Andrew Dismore, Blair said his country wants a settlement and expressed hope that the UN proposals for a comprehensive settlement, put forward November 11 by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, ''can be at least the basis for conducting these negotiations reasonably quickly.''

''If that happens the Cyprus issue would be resolved - Cyprus in any event will join the EU - and relations between Greece and Turkey could improve. That would be of enormous benefit to the whole region,'' he added.|

Asked by MP John Lyans about the problem of the missings persons in Cyprus, Blair said that was a ''serious issue'' and that ''there is every possibility of trying to resolve it in the context of an agreement on Cyprus.''

''I genuinely believe that the UN plan that has been put forward offers the greatest prospect for a final settlement of the Cyprus issue that we have had for many decades, and if that can be agreed by the parties involved some of the traumatic and difficult issues could be resolved,'' he added.

He also said that ''the best way of dealing with the matter comprehensively will be in the context of an agreement to that settlement.''

Answering another question at the House, British Minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Baroness Symons, noted that the UK will maintain close contact with all the main parties, engaged in the Cyprus problem, both at ministerial level, through diplomatic channels, and through the work of the British High Commission in Nicosia, to support the efforts of the UN.

Asked by Labour MP Tony Baldry about the British stance on Turkey's accession to the EU at the EU Summit in Copenhagen, British Prime Minister expressed the belief that Turkish membership of the EU would be a good thing for Turkey, for Europe and for the wider world.''

''We would like to see Turkey start negotiations as soon as possible, by meeting the conditions which apply to all candidates. We want the Copenhagen European Council to signal a decisive step forward in Turkey's candidature,'' he added.

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