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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 01-03-08
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Thursday, 8 March 2001
 Government Spokesman: foot and mouth disease will cause no problem to the holding of the Cyprus-Ireland football matchGovernment Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said in his press briefing on 6 March 2001 that the foot and mouth disease would cause no problem at all for the smooth holding of the Cyprus-Ireland football match, which is scheduled to take place on March 24, and for the unobstructed arrival of Irish football fans in Cyprus.
 US President submits to Congress his bi-monthly report on CyprusUS President George Bush submitted on March 6 2001 his first bimonthly report on progress toward a negotiated settlement of the Cyprus question, which covers the period December 1 2000 - January 312001.
In his covering letter addressed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, President Bush notes: "The United Nations continued in its efforts to sustain the proximity talks that started in December 1999. The United States remains committed to the United Nations' effort to find a just and lasting settlement to the Cyprus problem."
 Britain accepts that a united Cyprus is not a precondition for EU membership"We accept and the EU has accepted that a united island is not a precondition for membership," the British Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Keith Vaz has said.
Speaking at a meeting in London on 5 March, organized by the Greek Cypriot Brotherhood and the UK branches of the Communist Party (Akel) , Democratic Party (Deko) and the Social Democrats Movement (Kissos), Mr Vaz stressed that Britain will do all it can as Cyprus' friend in the European Union to ensure that Cyprus becomes a member of the EU as quickly as possible.
"The UK is Cyprus' best friend in the European Union. I want everyone to understand that we regard the early entry of Cyprus to the EU of being of paramount importance to the future of the European Union. Only with Cyprus in, could she feel comfortable and happy about being part of the European mainstream," he said.
"Cyprus has done better than any other applicant country. As far as the negotiations are concerned, Cyprus has closed 17 chapters of the Acquis Communautaire. It is essential that we continue with this process. And wherever we go and all the discussions that I have as Europe Minister with other countries, indeed with Commissioner Verheugen, we reminded them of our total and absolute support for Cyprus," Mr Vaz added.
Referring to the Cyprus problem, Mr Vaz said "what is essential is that we seize this moment at this time, under the auspices of Kofi Annan to ensure that we have a settlement that is required".
The Minister also said that "only in engaging in these negotiations, we will be able to fulfil our historic pledge to be a part of a solution that would be in the interest of the people of Cyprus.
 Russia supports a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problemRussia reaffirmed its firm and steady position for a just and viable settlement in Cyprus in the framework of UN resolutions, in a press release issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry on 1st March, after a visit to Cyprus by the Russian envoy Mr Vladimir Prygin.
The press release stated Russia's position that a dialogue is the only effective way out of the long-standing deadlock in the efforts to settle the Cyprus problem and that for this purpose is in touch with interested parties to secure their constructive input towards this goal.
It also said that Russia supports an end to the interruption of the talks as soon as possible, an interruption that is a result of the position of the Turkish Cypriot side. "The opportunity afforded by the process of talks should not be lost," it said.
The press release concluded that Russia is in touch with the interested sides in Nicosia, Athens and Ankara, the permanent members of the UN Security Council, the G8 group and all those wishing to contribute constructively to a just settlement of the Cyprus problem.
 Swedish Foreign Minister looks forward to a successful outcome of the UN talksThe Cyprus problem and the importance of a good outcome of the UN talks were among issues raised at a meeting between the US Secretary of State Mr Colin Power and the Swedish Foreign Minister Mrs Anna Lindh in Washington on 6 March.
Replying to questions after the meeting, Mrs Lindh, whose country is chairing the European Union rotating presidency since January, referred to the UN sponsored talks on Cyprus and said she looks forward to a successful outcome of the UN talks even if it looks very difficult.
She also expressed the hope that the Turkish Cypriot leader would be persuaded to return to the negotiating table. "Right now Denktash refuses to return to the negotiating table and I hope that everyone who can have an influence on Mr Denktash has really tried to use that influence, to see to it that he is returning to the negotiating table," she said.
On the island's' prospects for EU accession, the Swedish Foreign Minister said that Cyprus could be accepted as a member even if a settlement is not reached and referred to the Helsinki summit conclusions which stated that political settlement is not a precondition for Cyprus' membership.
 Greece will not accept enlargement without CyprusNew Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis met in Brussels yesterday with European Commission President Romano Prodi. Mr. Karamanlis made a special reference to Cyprus, saying that Greece would not accept an enlargement that would not include Cyprus. Moreover, in his address to the European Popular Party Congress he emphasised, inter alia, that Turkey cannot prevent Cyprus' accession to the EU or be allowed to veto the enlargement process.
Mr. Karamanlis stressed that since Cyprus fulfils all the preconditions set by the EU, it should be included in the next group of countries to accede to the EU.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/