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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-06-05

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Clerides' offer "absolutely clear", says EU official

  • 1250:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Clerides' offer "absolutely clear", says EU official

    Nicosia, Jun 5 (CNA) -- President Glafcos Clerides' proposal for the participation of Turkish Cypriots in the Republic's team negotiating the island's accession to the European Union (EU) is "absolutely clear" and there is nothing to be added to it, an EU official said here Friday.

    He also expressed hope that since the proposal remains the Turkish Cypriots will eventually join the Cyprus delegation.

    Director General of the European Commission's Task Force for the accession negotiations, Nikolaus van der Pas, and the Task Force's negotiator for Cyprus, Leopold Maurer, who arrived here for talks yesterday, were received today by President Clerides.

    Van der Pas told the press after the meeting they explained to the President that "we are not in a classical international negotiation."

    "The decision of principle has been taken in the highest level in the EU, which is that Cyprus one day and hopefully sooner than later be a member of the EU," he said.

    The EU official said the Task Force assured the President they would try their best "to prepare these negotiations in such a way that there is also a contribution to a solution to the political problem of this island."

    However, he noted "we know there are very strict limits to what we can do."

    Van der Pas replied negatively to a question whether there is a formula in preparing accession negotiations so as to assist efforts towards a solution to the protracted Cyprus problem.

    "No, I can't offer you a formula on that at the moment," he said.

    He expressed their readiness to do whatever they can to this direction, but noted it would be "counter-productive" at this stage, when "so many eminent people are trying to find a solution to interfere with that."

    The EU official expressed regret that President Clerides' proposal to include the Turkish Cypriot community in the accession negotiations team has not been "picked-up".

    "That is very regrettable, because it will lead to a negotiating result which will not comprise the Turkish Cypriot community.

    So, we very much hope that as the negotiations go on, there will be a change of hearts in the T/C community and that they will still join that team," he said.

    Van der Pas reiterated for the EU it is a matter of principle that Cyprus' accession should benefit both communities and contribute to a peaceful and lasting solution.

    He said the aim of his visit with Maurer was to overcome any future obstacles in the future accession talks, noting they can do nothing at the moment to secure T/C participation.

    "We only hope that the offer which remains on the table will be picked- up," Van der Pas said.

    He explained that the EU negotiates possible membership only with states and not with communities, noting that "the EU has opened these negotiations and they will continue."

    He said T/C participation would facilitate things and expressed the conviction this would be help build confidence that "would contribute in a more genuine sense to a peaceful solution."

    Asked whether the EU will stick to President Clerides' proposal or try to find other ways to facilitate T/C participation in the accession talks Van der Pas said:

    "The offer by President Clerides is absolutely clear. I don't see what could be added to it."

    Later on the EU Task Force for the accession negotiations called on House President Spyros Kyprianou.

    Kyprianou said they had an "interesting and substantial" meeting and described the views of the two EU officials as "correct".

    He explained that they did not consider T/C participation in accession talks or a Cyprus solution as a precondition for Cyprus' entry into the EU.

    Cyprus along with Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia and Estonia started accession talks with the EU in March.

    Turkish troops have been occupying 37 per cent of Cyprus territory since their 1974 invasion, in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdrawal.

    CNA KN/AP/GP/1998
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