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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 01-03-15
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Thursday, 15 March 2001
 British Minister of State visits CyprusThe President of the Republic Mr Glafcos Clerides received yesterday the British Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Mr Keith Vaz, who arrived on the island on Tuesday evening for a two-day official visit. Accompanying Mr Vaz was Britain's Special Representative for Cyprus, Sir David Hannay.
The meeting was attended by Cyprus Foreign Minister Mr Ioannis Kasoulides, the Permanent Undersecretary to the President Mr Pantelis Kouros, the Cyprus High Commissioner in London Mrs Myrna Kleopa and the British High Commissioner Sir Edward Clay.
In the morning, Mr Vaz who is also the Minister responsible for European Affairs had a meeting with the Chief Negotiator for Cyprus' European Union accession negotiations Mr George Vassiliou, with whom he discussed Cyprus' EU accession course, before crossing over to the occupied areas to meet with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.
Later in the day, the British Minister attended a working lunch hosted by Mr Kasoulides. In a statement to the press afterwards, Mr Vaz stressed that Britain is Cyprus' best friend in the European Union and reiterated his country's wish to see Cyprus joining the EU as soon as possible. Cyprus has made good progress in the accession negotiations and has closed more chapters than any other candidate country, he said.
He reaffirmed the British government's support for the work of the UN Secretary-General and its commitment to the continuation of the UN-led proximity talks on Cyprus. Mr Vaz said he urged Turkish Cypriot Leader Mr Denktash, during the meeting they had in the morning, to come back to the negotiating table and be part of the peace process.
He also raised with Mr Denktash the issue of Panicos Tziakourmas, the Greek Cypriot illegally detained for the past three months by the Turkish occupation forces. He expressed the British Government's grave concern about the way this matter arose and pointed out that the situation must be resolved.
 UN process is the best and only path to a just, lasting and comprehensive settlementThe British Minister of State Mr Keith Vaz underlined yesterday Britain's unequivocal support for Cyprus' accession to the European Union and its commitment to the UN-led sponsored talks on Cyprus.
Speaking at a press conference, attended by Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot journalists at the Ledra Pallas Hotel in Nicosia, Mr Vaz said that during his meeting with Mr Denktash, he pointed out to him the need to see the talks continue. Moreover, he urged him to return to the negotiating table because the UN process is the best and only path to a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement in Cyprus.
The British official also referred to the abduction and illegal detention of Panicos Tziakourmas, pointing out that the British Government is extremely concerned with the way he was arrested and detained and is committed to see that justice is done on this issue. It has made representations and will do all it can to secure Mr Tziakourmas' release, he said.
 Cyprus-EU accession negotiations will continue unimpededThe continuing occupation of the northern part of Cyprus by Turkish troops constitutes a violation of international law, the European Commissioner for Enlargement Mr Guther Verheugen, stated on 13 March in Strasbourg.
He was replying to a question by Greek Member of European Parliament Mr A. Alavanos on the threats of annexation of the occupied areas of Cyprus by Turkey. Mr Verheugen said that the Commission has no confirmed information on such threats. It only has information on a financial protocol between Turkey and the Denktash regime. He added however, that if there are other intentions involved, then they constitute a violation of international law.
Referring to the Cyprus problem, Mr Verheugen said that the European Commission unreservedly supports the efforts of the UN Secretary General for the restart of the talks and uses every available opportunity to repeat this position. The Cyprus problem is also important in the political dialogue between the European Union and Turkey, he said.
In relation to Cyprus' EU candidacy, the European Commissioner stressed that the accession negotiations with Cyprus will continue at the same pace irrespective of the developments in the Cyprus problem.
Mr Verheugen said that efforts are being made for the restart of the talks and made a clear appeal to the representatives of the Turkish Cypriot Community to return to the negotiating table and support the UN efforts.
In conclusion, Mr Verheugen said that he would raise the issue of the presence of Turkish occupation troops in Cyprus, which constitutes a violation of international law at the next meeting he will have with the Turkish government.
 Cyprus Parliamentary Delegation visits RussiaThe President of the House of Representatives, Mr. Spyros Kyprianou, heading a Cypriot parliamentary delegation, met yesterday with the Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov in Moscow and briefed him on the latest developments regarding the Cyprus issue.
For his part, the Russian Prime Minister reaffirmed his country's solidarity with the people of Cyprus and expressed satisfaction for the way in which bilateral relations between Cyprus and Russia are developing.
The delegation also had separate meetings with the Chairman of the Russian Duma and other officials. During these meetings, special reference was made to the further enhancement of cooperation and strengthening of relations between the two countries.
The Russian officials stressed their country's continuous support for the Cyprus problem on the basis of the UN resolutions.
 MEP Theresa Villiers congratulates Cyprus on EU negotiationsMember of the European Parliament for London, Ms Theresa Villiers met with the Cyprus Ambassador to the European Union, Mr Theophilos Theophilou in Strasbourg. During their meeting, the British MEP congratulated Mr Theophilou on the progress made by Cyprus in the European Union accession negotiations.
"I am concerned that the talks with the Turkish Government have reached a deadlock and I very much hope that Mr Denktash will change his attitude and resume negotiating," she added.
Ms Villiers also made a reference to the case of Panicos Tzakourmas and expressed the hope that he would be released immediately.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/