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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 01-02-20
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Tuesday, 20 February 2001
 President Clerides: US interest in the Cyprus problem will continuePresident Clerides said yesterday that the Cyprus problem is among the priorities of the US administration but is not as high up in their priority list as the situation in the Gulf or the Middle East.
Invited by journalists to assess how the change of government in the US might affect developments in Cyprus, he said that President Bush had indicated in his election campaign that his foreign policy would focus on issues that adversely affect US interests. Bearing this in mind, the Cyprus problem would be among priority issues but after the Gulf and the Middle East. Nevertheless, assurances have been given to him that the US interest in the developments of the Cyprus problem would continue, he said.
Asked to comment on reports that the US intends to abolish the appointment of presidential emissaries, President Clerides said this does not concern only the case of Cyprus. President Bush and Mr Powel, the US Secretary of State, have agreed that issues of foreign policy should come under the umbrella of the State Department. The current policy followed now is that once the presidential emissary's contract expires it is not renewed, he said.
Replying to another question President Clerides said that Cyprus' EU accession course acts as a catalyst for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem. Cyprus' harmonisation process will be completed by the year 2002 and after that it is up to the European Union to decide when to accept new members, he added.
 Dutch State Secretary for Foreign Affairs calls for the resumption of UN-led peace talksThe State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands Mr Dick Benschop, who is currently visiting the island, called on all interested parties in Cyprus to resume the UN-led peace talks, aimed at finding a solution to the Cyprus problem.
Speaking to the press after the meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Ioannis Kasoulides yesterday, Mr Benschop said that the Dutch government and all European politicians appeal to all the parties concerned to restart negotiations and work again under the auspices of the UN to find a solution to the Cyprus problem.
He also expressed his government's full support for UN efforts to find a Cyprus settlement and said his country wishes to contribute to these efforts as much as possible through the European Union.
Referring to the prospects for Cyprus' EU accession, Mr Benschop said his government bases its policy on all the aspects of the EU Helsinki conclusions, which stipulate that a political settlement in itself is not a precondition for Cyprus' accession.
 Greek Ministers visit CyprusCyprus Foreign Minister Mr Ioannis Kasoulides had a meeting yesterday with Mr Nicos Sifounakis, Minister of the Aegean, and Mr George Paschalides, Minister of Thrace-Makedonia, who are currently on an official four-day visit to the island at the invitation of Finance Minister Mr Takis Klerides.
Their visit is part of the preparatory work for the start of a programme entitled "Thraki-the Aegean-Cyprus" that aims at promoting this region's civilisation through specific proposals and actions.
Speaking after the meeting Mr Kasoulides said there are national and traditional ties among Thrace, the Aegean and Cyprus, which help consolidate and promote issues of national importance and reinforce relations between Greece and Cyprus.
For their part, the two ministers expressed the hope that the joint efforts of Cyprus and Greece may yield results and bring a just and viable solution of the Cyprus problem.
Referring to Cyprus' EU accession course, Mr Paschalides said that after the EU decisions in Helsinki and Nice, there are optimistic prospects for Cyprus joining the EU. Cyprus has a very important role to play in the Middle East and Greece an equally important role in the Balkans, he added.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/