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Cyprus urges Turkey and Denktash to listen to T/C calls
2002-12-18 15:33:52

By Apostolis Zoupaniotis-- New York, Dec 18 (CNA) ? Cyprus, through its Permanent Representative at the UN, Sotos Zackheos, urged the Turkish leadership and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to listen to the yearning of Turkish Cypriots who have shown with courage their preference for finalizing a solution and accession of a reunited Cyprus to the EU.

In a speech entitled "European Union Enlargement ? Cyprus after Copenhagen", during a gathering in New York organised by the Cyprus ? American Federation and the World Coordinating Committee ? Justice for Cyprus, Zackheos also said that a just and workable solution of the Cyprus problem will enhance the Greco-Turkish rapprochement and stability in the Mediterranean.

The Copenhagen Summit concluded last week that Cyprus will be one of the ten countries that will become members of the EU as of the 1st of May 2004. The European Council also called on the Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots to continue negotiations with the objective of concluding a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem by the 28th February 2003.

Zackheos repeated the government is "very pleased about the decision of the European Council concerning our accession to the EU", and quoted the President of the Republic that "our joy for this historic day would be complete if the Cyprus problem were already solved".

Despite our disappointment at the intransigence of the Turkish side, "we will respond positively to the appeal by the European Council and we are ready to negotiate in good faith as we believe that the problem must be solved in order to safeguard the prosperity, security, understanding and respect of the human rights of all the people of Cyprus, without discrimination", he added.

Cyprus' Permanent Representative at the UN said "we understand the disappointment of our Turkish-Cypriot compatriots over the absence of a Cyprus settlement, and once more their leadership has let them down".

He said their "spontaneous mass demonstrations last Friday and during the weekend should serve as a reminder to Mr. Denktash that the true interests of the Turkish-Cypriots will be served with the reunification of the island under a just and workable agreement and the membership of Cyprus to the EU".

He reiterated an appeal to the Turkish leadership and to Denktash "that they listen to the yearning of our Turkish Cypriot compatriots, who have shown with courage their preference for finalizing a solution and accession of a reunited Cyprus to the EU".

"We call on them to help find a solution which will enhance and safeguard conditions of peaceful cooperation amongst the two communities in a reunified island, and terminating the division of the country and its people", he added.

"A just, viable and workable solution of the Cyprus problem meets the interests of the Cypriot people and will enhance the Greco-Turkish rapprochement as well as stability and co-operation in a crucial region of the Mediterranean", he said.

In his comments, George Cunningham, head of Press and Public Affairs of the European Union at the UN, congratulated Cyprus on the agreement reached at Copenhagen on its accession to the European Union.|

Noting the EU strongly supports the UN Secretary-General's efforts for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, he said at Copenhagen, the EU 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 the UN Secretary- General's proposals.

"In the current absence of a settlement, the application of the acquis to the northern part of the island is suspended until the EU decides otherwise", he said.

"We extend a welcoming hand to Turkish Cypriot community", said Cunningham, noting that additional EU aid is waiting a resolution of the Cyprus problem ? over a quarter of a billion euro (EUR 273 million) for the period 2004-2006.


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