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Political parties welcome decision for Cyprus' EU accession
2002-12-16 13:05:15

Nicosia, Dec 16 (CNA) - House of Representatives political parties in Cyprus welcomed the Copenhagen European Council decision to extend an invitation to Cyprus to join the European Union, noting that Cyprus now looks to a new era with optimism.

They also noted hard work is necessary to secure the second national aim, which is a viable and functional solution to the Cyprus problem.|

AKEL General Secretary Demetris Christofias described the EU decision for Cyprus' accession as a ''success'' and congratulated all who contributed towards it.

He advised all to be realistic, stressing that the UN Secretary General's plan for a Cyprus settlement is before us and ''collectively we should continue locating the points which will make it more functional and fair''.

Furthermore, he said ''we should continue to work so that a reunited Cyprus can reap the fruits of the EU and our Turkish Cypriot compatriots do not continue to be the victims of occupation and the presence of settlers''.

Christofias, who is also House of Representatives President, praised President of the Republic Glafcos Clerides for his handling of the whole situation, noting that ''he made the correct decisions, avoiding dangerous maneuvers''.

Ruling Democratic Rally party President, Nicos Anastasiades, pointed out the great significance of what was achieved in Copenhagen with prudence and proper handling by President of the Republic Glafcos Clerides, and the National Council's contribution.

Speaking in London, Anastasiades said the same firm policy should continue in efforts to reunite Cyprus.

''We accepted the Annan plan as a basis for negotiations'', Anastasiades said, noting that ''as long as there is good will from all, through correct and collective handling, we can achieve the best possible for our country in a just, viable and functional solution''.

Democratic Party President, Tassos Papadopoulos, described the decision as ''historic for Cyprus, inaugurating a new era'', adding that ''Cyprus can now look to the future with confidence and optimism''.

He also said one of Cyprus' struggles has been justified ''with the sacrifices of the people and everyone's efforts in this great achievement''.

President of the Movement of Social Democrats, Yiannakis Omirou, said the decision of the Copenhagen European Council constitutes ''an historic justification of Helsinki and opens new historical opportunities and prospects for the people of Cyprus''.

The struggle and effort has not ended but ''will be continued'', he said. The solution to the Cyprus problem remains ''the greatest strategic aim'', Omirou added.

He appealed to ''our Turkish Cypriot compatriots'', noting ''we do not forget them'' and acknowledging that ''they are suffering from the continued Turkish occupation''.

Omirou thanked the Greek government, the Prime Minister and those who were the architects of this course and ''our late compatriot Yiannos Kranidiotis who was the greatest visionary and founder of this greatest political achievement of Hellenism in the last 28 years''.

Fifty-two-year-old Alternate Foreign Minister of Greece Yiannos Kranidiotis, with his son Nicholas and another four persons, was killed in September 1999 during a flight to Romania on the Greek Prime Minister's Falcon jet when the plane suddenly lost altitude.

President of the United Democrats, George Vassiliou, stated it is understandable that everyone is happy because Cyprus has become a member of the EU, noting that accession ''puts before us great duties''.

Vassiliou said the government and everyone concerned would make every effort to reunite the island the soonest.

He further said that it is not enough to accede to the EU but all measures necessary should be taken so that ''we can be a worthy member of the EU, a member which can contribute and play a greater role than its size''.

The Fighting Democratic Movement (ADIK) described as ''the most historic day since the foundation of the Republic of Cyprus, the decision of the European Council of the EU for Cyprus' accession to the Union'', noting it was ''the result of a long and persistent effort of the entire people of Cyprus and its political leadership''.

''With the infinite and substantial support of the Greek government and the Greek people, one of our two national issues has been accomplished. Our accession to the united Europe creates prospects for security and peace, and the welfare of the people of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots'', ADIK added.

The Movement called on the people to be on alert because the next weeks will be a period of important decisions both for the completion of our accession process and the reunification of Cyprus through a viable and functional solution.

The decision for Cyprus' accession to the EU constitutes an historic moment and a starting point for Cyprus, New Horizons President Nicos Koutsou said, adding that the party is vigilant because ''accession allows for negative remnants, with the Annan plan being the most crucial''.

Speaking at a press conference, Koutsou said that ''from this moment a new strategy to handle the Cyprus problem should be designed which will aim at making use of the legal framework and the European principles, which we are entitled to and obliged to follow''.

''The climate which has been created should be taken advantage of by Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots for a united Cyprus, in a united Europe''.

The Ecologists Environmentalists Movement welcomed with great satisfaction the EU decision for Cyprus' accession to the EU, which comes ''without preconditions and restrictions''.

The Movement's MP and General Secretary, George Perdikis, also welcomed ''the fact that the Annan plan and specifically the foundation agreement was not signed despite blackmail''.

Announcing the decisions taken by the Pancyprian Coordinating Committee of the Movement, Perdikis said there are some points of the decision that are troublesome, such as the political commitment to find an agreement by February 28, which must be evaded, he said.

''We must pursue a European, democratic and viable solution to the Cyprus problem, and not a solution within the framework of the timetable and provisions of the Annan plan'', he added.

European Union leaders, in the conclusions of the Copenhagen European Council, said that as accession negotiations have been completed with Cyprus, the island would be admitted as a new EU member state.

However, the Council confirmed its strong preference for accession to the European Union by a united Cyprus and welcomed the commitment of the two sides on the island to continue to negotiate to reach a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem by 28 February 2003 on the basis of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's proposals.

Annan put forward a revised peace plan last month aimed at reaching a comprehensive settlement to the protracted Cyprus problem.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.


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