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Greek EU presidency to make every possible step for Cyprus
2003-01-10 12:46:00

By Costas Iordanides -- Athens, Jan 10 (CNA) ? The Greek Presidency of the European Union pledged here Friday to undertake every possible step to achieve an agreement on the basis of a UN proposal on a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus.

Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis made the pledge during a press conference in Athens with European Commission President, Romano Prodi in Athens, during which he outlined the priorities of the Greek presidency.|

Simitis repeated the Copenhagen European Council unanimous decision that ''Cyprus will become a member of the EU'' and said that ''this decision was taken in accordance with the Helsinki agreement that a solution to the political problem is not a condition for the membership of Cyprus".

"On the basis of these two decisions we proceed and if there is a solution of the political problem, a reunited Cyprus will sign the Accession Treaty. If there is no solution of the political problem then the Republic of Cyprus will sign the Accession Treaty and the acquis communautaire will not be applied, as decided in Copenhagen, in the northern part of Cyprus", occupied by Turkey since 1974, the Premier stated.

Simitis said he wanted to "repeat that the Greek government and Greece, because of the presidency of the EU, would undertake every possible step in order to achieve an agreement on the Annan treaty".

The Greek premier said "negotiations are necessary" and both the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities wish to have negotiations. However, Simitis, added, "up to now, there are difficulties on the part of the Turkish Cypriot community. They say they want to, but they do not proceed to the negotiations."

The Premier expressed hope that with the visit of UN Secretary-General's special adviser on Cyprus, Alvaro De Soto in Cyprus next week, "negotiations will begin so we can conclude in time before the Accession Treaty".

The UN Secretary-General has asked for intensified negotiations to take place with a view at reaching a comprehensive settlement by 28 February.


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