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

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>


CONTENTS

  • [01] Blair assures Cyprus solution no precondition for accession talks
  • [02] Cyprus has true perspective for EU membership, says Poos
  • [03] Luxembourg EU summit ends

  • 2145:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Blair assures Cyprus solution no precondition for accession talks

    by Emilia Christofi

    Luxembourg, Dec 13 (CNA) -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair reassured here today that a solution to the Cyprus problem is not a precondition for the start of accession negotiations with the European Union (EU).

    The British Premier was invited by CNA to comment whether he shared French President Jacques Chirac's views that there should be a Cyprus solution before accession to the EU and how Britain, during its upcoming six-month rotating EU presidency will promote a settlement to the protracted Cyprus problem.

    In his reply Blair said "there is absolutely no precondition in terms of a settlement in Cyprus for accession negotiations."

    "What is envisaged by all countries", he added, "is that it will be easier to have this process of accession if there is a settlement in Cyprus. So, the one is not a precondition of the other."

    Asked by CNA how the British presidency will promote a settlement, Blair replied:

    "Of course, we will play whatever part we can as the (EU) presidency, both to take forward the accession negotiation, but also to make sure we can bring about a good settlement in Cyprus. We very much hope to see that and we want Greece and Turkey and the communities in Cyprus to work with this, in order to ensure that this happens."

    Replying to a question whether Turkey is or is not in the EU and if there are conditions for it entering, the British PM said:

    "The criteria we applied in relation to Turkey are the same criteria we applied in relation to other countries," stressing it is not a question of laying down preconditions.

    Blair added that all "15" strongly supported for the development of close relations for Europe and Turkey.

    "We recognise that Turkey is a great power and is important for the future of Europe and the future of Turkey that we move closer together. We envisage the day when Turkey becomes a member of the EU," he said.

    To do that, though, "it's going to require some work to get there," he noted.

    CNA EC/RG/AP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    2000:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] Cyprus has true perspective for EU membership, says Poos

    by Emilia Christofi

    Luxembourg, Dec 13 (CNA) -- Cyprus has a true perspective to be a member of the European Union (EU), Luxembourg's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jacques Poos, said here today.

    Speaking to Cypriot reporters, Poos said President Glafcos Clerides and Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, who were present at the Luxembourg European Council, were "very happy with the solution decided today, that Cyprus is among the six countries with which the EU will open negotiations in April."

    Cyprus, he added, "has a true perspective to be a member of the EU."

    Poos further expressed the opinion that the whole of the island should be a member of the EU.

    CNA EC/RG/AP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    2340:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Luxembourg EU summit ends

    by Emilia Christofi

    Luxembourg, Dec 13 (CNA) -- Luxembourg Prime Minister, Jean Claude Juncker, who is also current President of the European Union (EU), described the decisions of the European Council to expand the Union as "monumental" and "historical".

    The Luxembourg European Council adopted here Saturday EU presidency's draft communique to "launch an accession process comprising the ten Central and Eastern European applicant states and Cyprus."

    It also decided a specific pre-accession strategy for Cyprus, noting that the accession process will be launched on March 30, 1998.

    Confirming Turkey's eligibility for accession to the EU, the Council noted 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.

    Speaking at a press conference, after the conclusion of the Luxembourg EU summit, Juncker said its major message was "hope and peace."

    The Council has decided on a developing and comprehensive process, he added, noting this "offer" covers all associated countries.

    "All 11 (associated countries) leave Luxembourg with the feeling that Europe has not rejected them," Juncker said.

    European Commission President Jacques Santers said the summit's decision had "opened the way to the peaceful unification of the continent."

    "We have made a constructive and serious offer. We are counting on a serious and constructive response from Ankara".

    Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jacques Poos told the media the victory belongs to every one, noting that no discrimination had been made against any country.

    He did, however, urge Turkey to accept the criteria set for all candidate countries, on which it will also be judged.

    Poos said a relevant letter will be sent to Turkey to consider the European Council decision.

    Replying to questions, Juncker denied that Turkey was being offered third class membership in the European family, noting that Turkey should reply to this challenge.

    Concluding, the current EU President said the Union is not a "demanding and not a Christian club."

    The communique 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."

    The accession of Cyprus, according to the communique, "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."

    CNA EC/AP/RG/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    CNA END
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