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Rasmussen urges all parties to find Cyprus settlement
2002-12-18 15:39:49

By Nicos Bellos -- Brussels, Dec 18 (CNA) ? Danish Prime Minister and President of the European Council, Anders Fogh Rasmussen urged all parties involved in Cyprus on Wednesday to make use of the unique opportunity to solve the Cyprus problem.

In a speech before the plenary of the European Parliament in Strasbourg which examined the deliberations of the Copenhagen European Council, Rasmussen referred to Cyprus, noting that everyone will benefit from a solution.

Cyprus, he said, will accede the EU divided. However there is a real possibility that the parties will be able to find a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem before 28th February, 2003, on the basis of the UN Secretary-General's proposal for Cyprus.

Rasmussen invited all parties involved to make use of this unique opportunity to solve this tragic conflict", he said. We will all profit from an immediate solution to the Cyprus problem and no one will benefit more than the people of Cyprus, he concluded.|

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.

The UN has called on the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides to negotiate a UN proposal for a comprehensive settlement and reach an agreement by the end of February. Cyprus is set to sign the EU Treaty of Accession in mid April.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third.


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