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Papandreou hopes for Cyprus settlement by end of February
2002-12-30 11:39:46

Nicosia, Dec 30 (CNA) ? Greece hopes that negotiations for a Cyprus settlement will yield results by 28 February, a target date set by the UN, so that a reunited Cyprus can sign the European Union Accession Treaty, said Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

"Every effort should be made so that in the next few weeks there is a solution, but even if there is no solution by 28 February, the effort will not be over", Papandreou told "The Vima" newspaper on Sunday.|

He explained that according to a protocol, which the European Commission will formulate, there would be a provision covering the possibility of a solution achieved after the end of February.

Asked if he believes whether it is feasible for a united Cyprus to enter Europe on April 16, when the Accession Treaty if expected to be signed, Papandreou said he hoped this could be done.

"However, this does not depend on us. We can wish that negotiations proceed promptly. Otherwise, the Republic of Cyprus will sign the Accession Treaty," he said.

Regarding Turkey's European course, Papandreou said this is among the priorities of the six monthly Greek EU presidency, which begins January 1.

He said that Turkey's relations with the EU will be reviewed during the first six months of 2003.

''We have stressed to the new government in Ankara that we are ready to help the transfer of knowledge and help accelerate their (Turkey's) preparation to implement the Copenhagen criteria", Papandreou added.

The Copenhagen European Council earlier this month has invited Cyprus, along with nine other countries, to join the European Union in May 2004 as full members.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is pursuing efforts to bring about a settlement of the Cyprus problem by the end of February 2003, on the basis of his revised proposals presented to the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides on December 10.

CNA/GSA/EC/MM/2002
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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