|Tuesday, 22 January 2019|
Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 98-03-31
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
 Foreign Minister addresses Intergovernmental Conference for Cyprus' EU accessionCyprus' Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides today reiterated that Cyprus' application to join the European Union does not mean that the government will stop doing everything in its power to solve the Cyprus problem well in advance of the next enlargement.
Speaking at the first session of the Intergovernmental Conference for the accession of Cyprus to the European Union in Brussels Mr Kasoulides said: "For us, the most important priority, for which we will spare no effort, is to end the division of our country and to reunite our homeland and our people".
He expressed confidence that the EU accession process will act as a catalyst for the reunification of Cyprus, adding that the process and prospect of accession should be at the service of this most important and most fundamental objective.
Mr Kasoulides also took the opportunity to renew President Clerides' invitation to the Turkish Cypriot community to join Cyprus' negotiating team as full members.
"It is our wish that our Turkish Cypriot compatriots work with us and share with us the task of preparing Cyprus for accession and enjoy with us the benefits", he said.
Mr Kasoulides added that Cyprus remains committed to work positively and constructively with the UN Secretary-General in the search for a mutually acceptable solution so that the communities of Cyprus can live together within a federation.
He said, moreover, that Cyprus feels it can make a contribution to Europe's cultural richness, stability and prosperity, strengthening the southern dimension of the Union.
"Cyprus, as a member of the EU, will be transformed into Europe's contact point with the troubled but extremely important region of the Middle East".
The Foreign Minister also expressed confidence that Cyprus' accession will be judged on its own merits and no third country will have veto over the progress of its application, nor will Cyprus be penalised in order to satisfy the interests of third countries.
 Robin Cook refers to CyprusEU Council President, British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, made a special reference to Cyprus at the launch of accession negotiations in Brussels yesterday between the EU and 11 applicant countries.
Mr Cook said Cyprus' specific pre-accession strategy "will be based in particular on participation in certain targeted projects, as well as on participation in certain community programmes and agencies."
He also mentioned Turkey's place in the enlargement process and said the Luxembourg EU summit "confirmed Turkey's eligibility for accession to the EU and that Turkey would be judged against the same criteria as the other applicant states."
 EU members on Cyprus' accessionThe Foreign Ministers of Ireland and Italy yesterday welcomed the start of Cyprus-European Union accession talks, while their French counterpart repeated the difficulties of a divided Cyprus becoming an EU member.
Speaking at the launch of accession talks, Irish Foreign Minister, Frank Sahey, welcomed the start of negotiations and pointed out that the prospect of accession will give the opportunity to the Greek and Turkish Cypriots to find a solution to the Cyprus problem.
Sahey also stressed that EU accession benefits all and safeguards the security of both communities on the island.
Italian Foreign Minister, Lamberto Dini, referred to the conclusions of the Luxembourg European Council last December with regards to the participation of Turkish Cypriots in accession negotiations. He stressed the need to ensure that the accession process helps both communities in Cyprus to overcome their differences.
Mr Dini also expressed the wish that Turkey will participate in a future European Conference.
Speaking at a press conference, French Foreign Minister, Hubert Vedrine, said France's position on the issue of Cyprus' accession to the EU is well- known, namely that it would be difficult to accept a divided island in the EU.
He said the accession process has been launched but that the road to EU membership for Cyprus would be long.
Greece's Foreign Under-Secretary, Yiannos Kranidiotis expressed the hope that EU membership talks will act as a catalyst towards a solution to the Cyprus problem and should be to the benefit of both communities on the island.
He told journalists that accession "will provide the basis for closer co- operation between the two communities, safeguard the security and the rights of all Cypriots and contribute to stability, peace and co-operation in the eastern Mediterranean".
He added that the door should remain open to the Turkish Cypriots for participation in the Republic's delegation in the talks.
 President Clerides fully satisfied with start of accession talksPresident Clerides yesterday told a group of visiting Greek professors and students that he expects an unhindered course of accession to the EU and that any existing problems will be solved prior to Cyprus' membership
He described the start of the Cyprus-EU accession talks as "historic" and expressed "full satisfaction" with the EU presidency's opening statement.
While regretting that the Turkish Cypriots had refused to participate in the talks with the Republic's negotiating team, he remarked that if Greek and Turkish Cypriots were left alone, without Ankara's intervention, a solution to the long-standing Cyprus question could soon be reached.
President Clerides said the Greek Cypriot side expects that a Cyprus settlement will be reached that would allow co-operation of the two communities for the island's entry into the EU.
 Government calls for efforts to break Cyprus deadlockGovernment Spokesman Christos Stylianides yesterday called on the Security Council to act in such a way as to curb Turkish intransigence so as to break the present deadlock and allow the intercommunal dialogue to resume.
He expressed satisfaction with comments by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan after a meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in Geneva on Saturday that talks for a peaceful settlement must be conducted within the framework of his good offices mission.
" In particular, we consider the assertion that the basis of the talks cannot be modified as particularly positive," he said.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/