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Danish FM to visit Greece and Turkey
2002-12-02 09:26:53

Nicosia, Dec 2 (CNA) -- Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moller, whose country holds the European Union rotating presidency, will travel to Turkey and Greece, Monday and Tuesday, to emphasise the significance of putting an end to the Cyprus problem.

A press release from the Danish EU presidency said Moller would travel to Turkey and Greece on 2-3 December as part of preparations for the Copenhagen European Council on 12-13 December.

Moller said he is ?looking forward in particular to discussing the Cyprus issue and Turkey?s relations with the EU? with his Turkish and Greek colleagues.?|

The Danish FM said the next two weeks leading up to the European Council meeting in Copenhagen ?offer a unique opportunity to reach a solution to the Cyprus issue,? noting that the UN Secretary General ?has prepared a detailed draft settlement that offers a good basis for negotiations.?

?I will use the opportunity to emphasise how important it is to put an end to this long-term conflict before the Summit in Copenhagen,? Moller concluded.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island?s territory. It is expected to finalise accession negotiations with the EU by the end of the year.

The UN Secretary-General submitted a plan for a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem on November 11 and had asked the two sides to reply by November 18 whether they accept it as a basis for negotiations. The Greek Cypriot side replied positively to Kofi Annan?s deadline but the Turkish Cypriot side delayed its reply by a further ten days.

The Secretary-General sent a second letter to the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides inviting their comments by November 30 on points they wish to see amended in the proposal he presented them earlier November.

CNA/EC/GP/2002
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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