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Kasoulides says Cyprus to join EU even without solution
2002-11-30 15:23:45

Nicosia, Nov 29 (CNA) - The Greek Cypriot side has ''never stopped efforts to solve the Cyprus problem'', Minister of Foreign Affairs Ioannis Kasoulides said today, noting that if it is not possible to achieve a solution before December 12, then ''surely we will proceed with accession'' to the European Union (EU).

Speaking to CNA from Stockholm, where he held talks with the Swedish government, Kasoulides referred to ''delays'', which make ''especially difficult'' the possibility of solving the Cyprus problem before the Copenhagen European Council.

At the same time he assured that the Greek Cypriot side will continue in the ''same intense manner'' efforts to solve the Cyprus problem before that date.|

Kasoulides, who met his Swedish counterpart Anna Lindh today, told CNA ''Sweden is positive regarding Cyprus' accession to the EU and expresses the hope that efforts to solve the Cyprus problem will produce results''.

The Minister said it is obvious there is no issue that a decision will not be taken at the Copenhagen European Council, according to the Helsinki conclusions.

''The aim has always been to achieve a solution before Copenhagen, which is most preferable'', Kasoulides said, only to add that ''if we cannot solve it before Copenhagen, we will continue with the same intense way afterwards''.

The Cypriot Minister said that he hoped the UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto will be proved right when he said there was still time for a solution until December 12.

Regarding his meetings in Stockholm, Kasoulides said he and Lindh ''discussed developments and efforts to solve the Cyprus problem and Mrs. Lindh expressed hope they will be fruitful''.

The UN has said Kofi Annan considers Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to be prepared to negotiate on the basis of Annan's plan to solve the Cyprus problem, submitted earlier this month.

Annan has also asked the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus to make known to de Soto, by November 30, their ''comments, suggestions or requests on his suggested basis for agreement on a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, so as to enable the process to move forward''.

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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