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Cyprus officially first to conclude EU accession negotiations
2002-12-09 13:44:56

by Nicos Bellos-- Brussels, Dec 9 (CNA) - As of today, Cyprus is officially the first candidate country to complete accession negotiations with the European Union (EU).

The completion of the accession negotiations took place during a meeting in Brussels between Danish President of the Council Per Stig Moeller, European Enlargement Commissioner Gunter Verheugen and Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs Ioannis Kasoulides, who was congratulated by the two EU officials.

Moeller warmly congratulated Kasoulides, acknowledging the hard work done by the Cyprus government to harmonise legislation with the acquis communautaire.|

Cyprus received the applause of negotiators as Verheugen emphasised that Cyprus was the first country to complete the accession negotiations.

As of today, Cyprus has no points for negotiation regarding the chapters for harmonisation. Two horizontal issues remain open, Agriculture and Budget, which will be agreed on at the Copenhagen European Council.

Earlier, Kasoulides made clear to Britain's Special Representative for Cyprus Lord David Hannay that with Greece's support it expects the European Council to take a clear stance on its accession without any ''footnotes or asterisks''.

He told CNA that he conveyed to Lord Hannay the positions of President Glafcos Clerides regarding efforts for a solution to the problem of Cyprus, divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

''We have the political will to continue efforts to solve the Cyprus problem even after Copenhagen'', he said.

During his stay in Brussels, Kasoulides will meet his Greek and Dutch counterparts.

CNA/NB/EC/RG/2002
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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