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President Clerides announces accession and pledges to strive for solution
2002-12-13 14:35:26

by Rebekah Gregoriades-- Copenhagen, Dec 13 (CNA) ? Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides announced tonight the completion of the "great national aim" of Cyprus for accession to the EU but expressed his sadness that it was not possible to solve the island's political problem before joining the Union.

In a written statement read out at a press conference by Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou, President Clerides says that "our country's accession to the EU provides us with the necessary certainty to take, over the next few weeks, daring measures that will help create a favourable climate for a settlement of our political problem".

He also called on the Turkish Cypriots "not to lose their faith in the need to live together in a reunited and prosperous Cyprus, member of the EU".|

The President's full statement is as follows:

"It is with great satisfaction that I announce to the people of Cyprus that the great national aim of Cyprus' accession to the EU has today been completed with the invitation of the Republic of Cyprus to become a member state.

For a long time now we have been waiting for this historical day to come. Today is a landmark in the process or unification of the European continent and a start for a brighter common future.

Our joy for this historical event would be complete if the Cyprus problem was already solved. We are deeply saddened because an agreement for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem was not achieved, despite efforts all these years, efforts which over the past few weeks reached a dramatic height.

However, our commitment to achieve this aim the soonest possible remains, as always, strong.

I address especially our Turkish Cypriot compatriots and call on them not to lose their faith in the necessity to live together in a reunited and prosperous Cyprus, member of the EU.

I would like to assure that until a solution of the Cyprus problem is achieved, the Cypriot government will do everything possible, so that all Cypriots, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, can enjoy the benefits and rights deriving from Cyprus' accession to the EU.

The accession of our country to the united Europe provides us with the necessary certainty to take, over the next few weeks, daring measures that will help create a favourable climate for achieving a solution of our political problem.

Cyprus is ready to meet its commitments and responsibilities as a new member of the EU, and to contribute towards fulfilling the aims of the Union and to the whole procedure of European integration.

I would like to express deep gratitude to the Danish presidency of the EU, the member states and the European Commission for their valuable support and assistance.

I also express deep gratitude to the Prime Minister of Greece Mr. Costas Simitis, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. George Papandreou, the Greek government, the political world and the people of Greece for their impartial support, the close cooperation and the struggle they gave with success for Cyprus' accession to the EU.

I furthermore express warm thanks to the National Council, the House of Representatives, the Negotiating Team on the Cyprus problem, the Accession Negotiation Team under Mr. George Vassiliou, the Diplomatic Service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the people of Cyprus for the efforts they have made to bring about the achievement of the aim of Cyprus' accession to the EU".

CNA/RG/KN/2002
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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