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Cox: Bring reconciling Cyprus into reconciling Europe
2002-12-09 10:41:55

Nicosia, Dec 9 (CNA) ? European Parliament President Pat Cox called on leaders in Cyprus to ''seize the moment and bring a reconciling Cyprus into a reconciling Europe''.

In a speech at the Economist conference ''Third Cyprus Summit - Countdown to accession'', Cox expressed the view that the EU can do business with Turkey's new leadership and Justice and Development leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

He described this year in the EU as a ''very special year'', adding that ''the year began with the launching of the Euro and then the Convention on the future of Europe, it is also the year when Europe's rendezvous with reconciliation must be decided this week in Copenhagen''.

Cox said the leaders of all EU states and candidate countries ''will have to answer to history if we should fail in our task'', noting that ''the task this weekend is to opt for an historic change''.|

''This is an historic moment, a moment of unparalleled, diverse and challenging reconciliation'', Cox said.

Another ''special challenge'' in Copenhagen is Turkey, Cox said, adding that there is a new willingness, with the new political administration in Ankara, ''to try to do business with Ankara''. He said he feels that ''we can do business'' with the Erdogan and the new government in Turkey.

Referring to his last visit to Cyprus, Cox said it was on May 9, Schuman Day, that is Europe Day in the EU.

''Schuman gave his declaration of reconciliation, his vision of Europe. Yours, the Mediterranean, and your island, is the cradle of our ancient European civilisation. I really do hope that you can, with the wisdom of ages and with the vision of Schuman's reconciling creativity, find the way to remind us that you can bring a reconciled Cyprus into a reconciled Europe. If you can get to us with that?you will give us the very public purpose and meaning of Europe itself and I hope you will do this'', he said.

The European Parliament President said ''I believe we have here on this island at the moment, a once in a generation opportunity'', noting the UN Secretary-General's new plan on Cyprus ''is distilled from older wisdom''.

He appealed to Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots on the island, and Greece and Turkey and other powers and influences in Europe, saying that ''leadership is now called for'', that they should ''choose decisiveness and courage'' during this week. ''Copenhagen will be difficult but a leap of faith may be required'', Cox added.

Referring to the Chief Negotiator for Cyprus' Accession to the EU George Vassiliou, Cox described him the ''Michael Schumacher of negotiators'', who is always in the pole position and ''he usually wins''.

''You have won the gold medal in the accession negotiations, being the first to conclude. Now with accession and settlement negotiations, in the very special biathlon you are faced with, there is another gold medal to be won. To quote Jean Monet, as you stand on the threshold of EU membership, when you change the context, you change the problem'', he said.


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