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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 01-03-13
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Tuesday, 13 March 2001
 Papandreou: Cyprus' EU accession course appears optimisticGreek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, who is currently on a three-day official visit to the island, had an hour-long meeting yesterday with the President of the Republic Mr Glafcos Clerides, with whom he discussed Cyprus ' EU accession course and the present phase of the UN sponsored talks on the Cyprus problem.
In a statement to the press after the meeting, Mr Papandreou said that an in depth discussion on Cyprus' EU accession course was necessary because following the EU summit in Nice the road has opened for the completion of negotiations within the next two years.
Cyprus' EU accession course appears optimistic, he said, because the Cyprus Government and society have managed to close an important number of chapters in the negotiations process, thus enabling Cyprus to be ahead of the other candidate countries for EU accession.
Mr. Papandreou said that on the basis of the EU decisions at the Helsinki Summit in December 1999 there are now two options, either accession with a settlement, which is the more preferable option, or one before a political settlement is reached. He added however that Cyprus would join the EU whether its political problem is solved or not.
Replying to questions on what Turkey would gain in exchange for Cyprus' EU membership, the Greek Foreign Minister said that Turkey has the choice of either contributing towards a settlement of the Cyprus problem thus enabling the Turkish Cypriots to benefit from accession or not contributing to a settlement in which case Cyprus would join the EU without the Turkish Cypriots.
Moreover, Mr Papandreou stressed that the European Union negotiates only with the officially recognized Government of the Republic of Cyprus, which represents the whole of the island.
Asked if the EU is considering adopting the German political model for Cyprus, Mr. Papandreou said it is early to say what each country's position would be. He also referred to a statement made by the EU Enlargement Commissioner, Mr Gunter Verheugen that when the accession negotiations with Cyprus are completed, he will recommend Cyprus' membership irrespective of whether the Cyprus problem is solved or not.
Later in the day, Mr Papandreou visited the air base in Paphos, which was built within the framework of the joint defence pact between Cyprus and Greece and named after his father, the Late Greek Premier Andreas Papandreou.
In a statement after touring the base, Mr Papandreou expressed the hope that a unified and demilitarised Cyprus will join the European Union, but said that until then Cyprus has to build its defence capabilities.
 New revised Moody's report on the Cyprus economy is positiveThe Minister of Finance Mr Takis Klerides stated in a press briefing yesterday, that the new revised report on the Cyprus economy by Moody's, one of the world's leading international rating organisations, was particularly positive and important for Cyprus.
Moody's, acknowledging the considerable progress that has been made in fiscal adjustments as well as convergence with European Union economic norms and legislation have revised and improved their report, the Minister said.
According to the report, "Moody's has revised its outlook on the A2 foreign currency ceiling and domestic currency government bond rating of Cyprus to stable from negative, in recognition of the progress that has been made in fiscal adjustment as well as the path to convergence with EU economic norms and legislation. Cyprus is expected to be included among the first wave of entrants to the EU in a few years, and this ambition is likely to drive additional reform and restructuring efforts in the years ahead," the report states.
Commenting on the report Mr Klerides said that this positive evaluation by Moody's is expected to attract foreign investors as well as lead to a reduction in the cost of international loans.
 Robin Cook: Britain is strongly supportive of Cyprus' application to join the EU"Britain is strongly supportive of Cyprus' application to join the EU. If William Hague wishes to be considered a friend of Cyprus, he should not be associated with those who hold extraordinary anti-Cypriot opinions".
The above was stated by Britain's Foreign Secretary Mr Robin Cook, commenting on a letter by Conservative MP Daniel Hannan, which was published on the web page of The Guardian newspaper on 9 March.
In his letter, Mr Hannan had voiced strong support for the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" and described Cyprus' application for European Union membership as illegal. It must be noted that the positions adopted by Mr Hannan are directly at odds with official Tory policy.
Mr Hannan belongs to the team of Conservative Eurosceptic Members of the European Parliament and had been appointed to write the speeches for the Leader of the Conservative Party, Mr William Hague.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/