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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 01-01-10
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Wednesday, 10 January 2001
 Irish Premier: Ireland looks forward with great enthusiasm to Cyprus' early European Union membership"Ireland fully endorses the efforts of the United Nations to achieve a political solution. In particular we believe that the UN framework of a bizonal bicommunal approach remains the appropriate one for an eventual settlement", the Prime Minister of Ireland, Mr Bertie Ahern, has stated.
In his address at the dinner given in his honour by President Glafcos Clerides last night, Mr Ahern, who is in Cyprus for a two-day officialvisit, stressed Ireland's continued support.
"Our own history gives us a very special feeling for Cyprus. As you know Mr President, Ireland has participated in the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus since its inception", he said and added: "You can be assured of our continued support, including during our two year term as a Security Council member, in the search for an agreed settlement of the Cyprus question".
The Irish Prime Minister said that Ireland and Cyprus have much in common, going beyond their shared perspectives as small island states on the periphery of Europe and praised the work done so far for strengthening the bonds between the two countries.
Mr Ahern referred to the impressive progress made by Cyprus both in the negotiations as in the preparations for EU membership and said that Ireland looks forward with great enthusiasm to Cyprus' early European Union membership.
"Cyprus is a prime example of a country which should be well-positioned to conclude negotiations perhaps even before the mid-2002 indicative target processed by the Commission", he said.
Concluding, the Irish Prime Minister reiterated that his country looks forward to welcoming Cyprus to the European Union and said that any help or advice needed will always be available to Cyprus.
In his reply, President Clerides expressed gratitude for Ireland's contribution to the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus and praised the excellent relations between Cyprus and Ireland.
"In our struggle to address the challenges facing Cyprus, primarily to solve the long-standing Cyprus question and secondly to join the European Union, we greatly appreciate your principled and consistent support", the President said.
Referring to the Cyprus problem, the President expressed the firm belief that Cyprus' accession process to the European Union will positively influence the search for a just and viable solution.
"As a country which has benefited in many respects from membership of the European Union, Ireland is well positioned to appreciate, as it does, our aspiration to become part of the European family and enjoy political stability, security and prosperity," he concluded.
During his visit to the island, the Irish Premier held official talks which focused on the Cyprus problem, Cyprus' European Union accession course, and cooperation in the fields of finance, trade, tourism, and technology.
Mr Ahern also met with former President of the Republic and Head of the negotiating team for the accession of Cyprus to the EU Mr George Vassiliou. Today, he will meet with House President Mr Spyros Kyprianou.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/