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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-12-13

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Cyprus welcomes EU summit decision
  • [02] European Council decision historical, says Clerides
  • [03] European Council draft communique

  • 1320:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Cyprus welcomes EU summit decision

    by Emilia Christofi

    Luxembourg, Dec 13 (CNA) -- Cyprus welcomed today a European Council decision Friday to open membership talks with Cyprus and five Central and Eastern European countries next March.

    In his first reaction after yesterday's decision, President Glafcos Clerides expressed here today his full satisfaction with the European Council decision.

    The decision, setting the process for March 30, 1998, included Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia and Estonia.

    President Clerides also described as "very positive" statements by Luxembourg's Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, current EU president, who strongly criticised the Turkish stance on Cyprus' EU accession course.

    Turkey was left off the list because of the EU's continuing concern over its human rights record, its occupation of part of Cyprus, border issues with Greece and the Kurdish question.

    Juncker told the BBC Friday "there is no comparison possible between Turkey and the other applicant countries. No one is tortured in these countries but this is not the case unfortunately with Turkey."

    He also told a local daily that Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz had turned down his proposal to withdraw threats that Turkey would annex the occupied part of Cyprus if the EU went on with its decision for accession talks with the Cyprus government.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot Rauf Denktash has expressed dissatisfaction with the EU decision to start accession talks with Cyprus, noting this was not helpful towards a settlement to the protracted Cyprus problem.

    Denktash told the Turkish Cypriot press it "seems the Greek Cypriots, Greece and the EU do not wish a settlement of the Cyprus problem."

    However, despite the fact he indirectly left open the possibility of his pseudostate's gradual integration to Turkey, he said "no issue for annexation is raised."

    Turkish Foreign Minister, Ismail Cem had warned "if there is a negative outcome of the summit, Turkey will no longer discuss political issues with the EU."

    "We will no longer talk Cyprus or human rights with them, only economic issues," he told a Turkish daily.

    Meanwhile, in a press conference here just before midnight, Greek Premier Costas Simitis said the EU summit had not finalised its decision about Turkey's participation in a planned European Conference with associated countries.

    The EU heads of state and government, he added, agreed that Turkey could not at this stage be an applicant country, but noted it should have a European prospective.

    President Glafcos Clerides will later today attend the Luxembourg meeting of members of the European Council, European Commission and associated countries.

    A working lunch of the European Council, the European Commission and associated countries will take place prior to the meeting.

    CNA EC/AP/GP/1997

    [02] European Council decision historical, says Clerides

    by Emilia Christofi

    Luxembourg, Dec 13 (CNA) -- The European Council decision Friday to open membership negotiations with Cyprus and five Central and Eastern European countries is of historic importance for Cyprus, President Glafcos Clerides said here today.

    "It's a decision of historic importance that will benefit the whole of the people of Cyprus, Greek and Turkish Cypriots, the Maronites, the Latins and Armenians," the President pointed out.

    Noting that the decision "really opens the door for our accession to the European Union (EU)," the President said "I am fully satisfied with this development."

    President Clerides publicly thanked the Greek government for its support in the handling of the issue and especially the Greek Premier Costas Simitis.

    Asked to comment whether the reference to Turkish Cypriots' participation is satisfactory, he said: "Of course. We never denied their participation in the Cypriot delegation, under the auspices of the Republic of Cyprus' delegation. We had said this has always been our stance."

    President Clerides also pointed out it had always been the firm stance of the Cyprus government that accession course into the European Union would be helpful and a catalyst towards reaching a solution to the protracted Cyprus problem.

    He expressed the conviction the decision's paragraph with regard to Turkey's accession course would also be "very helpful" as it notes that Turkey, among other moves, has to help towards a solution to the Cyprus problem, in accordance to UN resolutions.

    President Clerides estimated the duration of EU-Cyprus accession talks to be around two to three years.

    CNA EC/AP/RG/1997

    [03] European Council draft communique

    By Emilia Christofi

    Luxembourg, Dec 13 (CNA) -- The European Council has decided a specific pre-accession strategy for Cyprus, noting that the accession process will be launched on March 30, 1998.

    According to the draft document of the conclusions of the Luxembourg European Council, it has decided to "launch an accession process comprising the ten Central and Eastern European applicant states and Cyprus."

    The European Council has also confirmed Turkey's eligibility for accession to the European Union (EU), but that the strengthening of Turkey's links with the EU depends, among other things, on the support of the UN negotiations for a Cyprus settlement.

    The document notes that the European Council meeting in Luxembourg "marks a moment of historic significance for the future of the Union and of Europe as a whole."

    Noting that the Council has taken "the necessary decisions to launch the overall enlargement process", it says "it has decided to launch an accession process comprising the ten Central and Eastern European applicant states and Cyprus."

    The accession process will be launched on March 30, next year, by a meeting of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the EU, the ten Central and Eastern European applicant states and Cyprus, "which will establish a single framework for these applicant countries."

    "The specific pre-accession strategy for Cyprus," says the document, "will be based on:

    - Participation in certain targeted projects, in particular

    to boost judicial and administrative capacity and JHA


    - participation in certain Community programmes and agencies,

    - use by Cyprus of the Technical Assistance Information

    Exchange Office (TAIEX) Assistance."

    The accession of Cyprus, according to the draft document, "should benefit all communities and help to bring about civil peace and reconciliation."

    Furthermore, it notes "the accession negotiations will contribute positively to the search for a political solution to the Cyprus problem, through the talks under the aegis of the UN, which must continue with a view to creating a bicommunal, bizonal federation."

    In this context, it adds, "the Council notes the willingness of the government of Cyprus to include representatives of the Turkish Cypriot community in the accession negotiating delegation."

    Regarding Turkey, the Presidency's conclusions confirm its "eligibility for accession to the EU", but as the political and economic conditions allowing accession negotiations are not satisfied, "the European Council considers that it is nevertheless important for a strategy to be drawn up to prepare Turkey for accession by bringing it closer to the EU in every field."

    However, it recalls that "strengthening Turkey's links with the EU also depends on its pursuit of the political reforms on which it has embarked... and support for negotiations under the aegis of the UN on a political settlement in Cyprus, on the basis of the relevant UN Security Council resolution."

    The Council has also decided to "set up a European Conference which will bring together member-states of the EU and the European states aspiring to accede to the EU."

    It notes that the members of the Conference "must share a common commitment to peace, security and good neighbourliness, respect for other countries' sovereignty... and a commitment to the settlement of disputes by peaceful means."

    "Countries which endorse these principles and respect the right of any European country fulfilling the required criteria to accede to the EU and share the Union's commitment to building a Europe free of the divisions and difficulties of the past will be invited to take part in the Conference," the draft document says.

    "Initially, the EU offer will be addressed to Cyprus, the applicant states of Central and Eastern Europe and Turkey," the document notes.

    The first meeting of the Conference will take place in London, on March 12, 1998.

    This European Council draft document is expected to be passed later today at a meeting between Council members, the European Commission and representatives of the associated countries.

    CNA EC/RG/AP/1997
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