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EU to take final decision on Cyprus today
2002-12-12 22:51:32

by Maria Myles -- Copenhagen, Dec 13 (CNA) -- The European Union has said that it will take its decision on Cyprus' accession by 1630 today (Friday), having been informed about the outcome of continued efforts by the UN in the form of proximity talks which will take place Friday between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides.

Greek prime minister Costas Simitis announced this here today at a press conference, adding that it was pretty clear that neither the Turkish Cypriot nor the Turkish side appear willing to conclude a deal on Cyprus, adding that Ankara cannot carry on for ever its negative stance and cannot be allowed to exploit the question of Cyprus to meet its own goals.

With regard to Turkey's demand to get a date for the start of accession negotiations with the EU, the Greek Premier said the Union will assess the situation in December 2004 and then decide on a date.

Speaking at a press conference after Thursday's working dinner of the 15, Simitis said the EU Council will have before it today two options on Cyprus, one relating to Cyprus' accession with a political settlement and the other without a settlement.

He said all member states reiterated their position that the political settlement of the Cyprus question is not a precondition for the country's accession.

''If there is no solution, Cyprus will join the EU,'' he said.

The Greek Premier said UN Secretary General informed the Danish Premier that today there will be proximity talks on Cyprus and there is a possibility that a solution may emerge out of this negotiation.

''The 15 agreed that the EU will have to close the chapter on enlargement Friday, so the EU will wait until 1630 and if there is a solution the option on accession with a solution will be in force and if there is no solution, the second option will be implemented,'' Simitis said.|

He also said that ''it is almost certain that on the part of the Turkish Cypriot and the Turkish side there is no will to conclude the peace talks and conclude an agreement at this stage.''

Noting that peace talks can continue after Copenhagen, Simitis said that the Turkish Cypriots cannot carry on with their negative stance for ever, and Turkey cannot use the Cyprus question as a pressure lever whenever there is a problem with either Greece or Cyprus, exploit this and get things in return.

''We cannot allow the Turkish Cypriot side to exploit various things, such as the illness of Rauf Denktash, to avoid a solution and continue the division of Cyprus,'' he said.

This, he said, is a matter that will be discussed Friday.

With regard to the start of membership talks with Turkey, he said the suggestion put forward by France and Germany on this matter was accepted by most member states.

''This option will be finalised on Friday, during discussions of the conclusions,'' he said.

The franco-german proposal said that in December 2004 the EU will assess the situation with regard to Turkey and if its assessment is positive, then negotiations can start.

CNA/MM/MK/2002
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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