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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-09-05

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The reunification of Cyprus is in the best interest of Europe and of Cyprus itself, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrick Reinfeldt has said.

    Speaking during a press conference after a meeting he had on Friday with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias, who is paying an official visit to Sweden, Reinfeldt said that they discussed bilateral issues, the Cyprus problem and the upcoming Swedish presidency of the European Union.

    President Christofias stressed that Cyprus` reunification will serve the interest of the Cypriot people, both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, but will also serve the unity in Europe and the possible enlargement.

    I would like to warmly welcome President Christofias in his role in opening up the Cyprus issue with Mr. Talat, and we are very hopeful that this might move the process forward, Prime Minister Reinfeldt said.

    He stressed that the reunification of Cyprus is what is best for Europe but also what is best for Cyprus. What we want to see of course is prosperity, security and openness, he added.

    Referring to the upcoming Swedish EU Presidency, Reinfeldt noted that it might very well be linked with questions of EU enlargement. I have said to the President that we want to be a constructive partner in the dialogue. If we can help in any kind of circumstance with the Cyprus issue in the upcoming years.

    Asked whether, during its Presidency, Sweden is willing to take any initiative to help the new effort for a Cyprus solution and to influence Turkey to demonstrate respect to EU principles, the Swedish Prime Minister said that during his countrys Presidency the Ankara Protocol would be revised.

    I would definitely like to see that this question has moved at that time, and of course I would like to see that we can go on with the (accession) negotiations (of Turkey), opening the chapters rather than going back to the discussion we had a year ago and freezing down negotiations on the chapters, Reinfeldt noted.

    So, we will definitely be active both if Cyprus wants us to take any kind of initiative but also in the talks with the Turks of course, he added.

    On his part, Christofias said they decided to promote further relations between Cyprus and Sweden.

    Christofias also thanked the Swedish Prime Minister and his government for their interest in the Cyprus problem and the reunification of the island.

    President Christofias stressed that Cyprus` reunification will serve the interest of the Cypriot people, both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, but will also serve the unity in Europe and the possible enlargement.

    In the EU, it is clear that only Sweden, Greece, Cyprus and maybe Britain are the countries which have a clear position on the full accession of Turkey into the EU, Cyprus President pointed out and noted that Turkey must fulfill the Copenhagen criteria in order to become a member of the EU.

    Referring to the Cyprus issue, President Christofias said the leaders of the two communities should be reasonable, flexible and should show good will, in order to find a common, acceptable Cyprus solution, to set the country free from the foreign armies and reunite Cyprus for the benefit of the Cypriots.

    A solution by the Cypriots for the Cypriots, Christofias pointed out.

    Additionally, he noted that a solution to the Cyprus issue would be in the interest of the Turkish people who want to modernise and democratise their country and to promote its EU membership.

    Christofias pledged to do his outmost in order to put an end to the tragedy of the Cypriot people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.

    Responding to a question, President Christofias called for fewer statements and more actions on the part of Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.

    Finally, Christofias stressed the need for finding a solution and preventing failure.

    We want to honour Cypriots. Especially we want to honour old generations who lived together in peace, who fought together for their rights and for a better life, we want to honour the victims of the chauvinists attacks against the Cypriot people, he concluded.

    Speaking earlier to Swedish journalists, President Christofias underlined that many things depend on the will of the two leaders in Cyprus. Furthermore, he underlined the right of refugees to return to their ancestral home and live there. ``I would not mind to return under Turkish Cypriot administration, as long as there is respect of human rights in a democratic administration system,`` he added.

    Cyprus President was also received Friday by the King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustav.

    Christofias had the chance to inform the Swedish King on the latest developments in the Cyprus question.

    They also discussed ecological and environmental issues and President Christofias informed the King about the severe drought Cyprus is facing.

    Christofias gave the King an ancient amphora as a gift.

    Christofias also had a meeting with the leader of the Swedish left party Lars Ohly.

    Turkey, which aspires to become an EU member, has been occupying 37% of Cyprus territory since 1974. Until today, Turkey refuses to open its ports and airports to Cypriot vessel and aircraft, as called for in the Ankara Protocol. Cyprus has been an EU member since 1st May 2004.

    President Christofias and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Mehmet Ali Talat began on Wednesday direct negotiations with a view to reunite the country. The two leaders will meet again next week.

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