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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 01-04-04
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Wednesday, 4 April 2001
 Britain could play a positive role in efforts to find a just and viable settlement of the Cyprus problemBritain's Foreign Secretary Mr Robin Cook underlined yesterday his country's commitment that it would "make sure that Cyprus is unified again as a single state with a single citizenship and with freedom of movement for all its residents."
Speaking to the press after a meeting with Mr Demetris Christofias, Secretary - General of Cyprus' left-wing party Akel, Mr Cook said that Britain could play a positive role in efforts to find a just and viable settlement of the Cyprus problem, on the basis of the relevant UN resolutions and the High Level agreements of 1977 and 1979.
The British official reiterated that a settlement in Cyprus must not be a precondition for Cyprus' membership to the EU and underlined his country's readiness to continue to work hard "to make that possible as soon as we can".
Noting that Cyprus is doing very well in its preparation for membership, Mr Cook said that Britain wants Cyprus as a member of the EU, wants Cyprus to join as a single state and if that does not prove possible "we still want to make sure that Cyprus' application is judged on its own strong merits".
In his statement Mr Christofias expressed the hope that Britain will continue even more intensely to exert its influence as well as its pressure on Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and the Turkish Government for a just and viable settlement of the Cyprus problem soon and if possible prior to the Republic's accession to the EU.
"Because that is difficult, we appreciate the position expressed by Mr. Cook that Cyprus is ready for accession and that a settlement or a non- settlement of the Cyprus problem must not be an obstacle for accession," he said.
 Greek Foreign Minister and Cyprus' Chief negotiator meet in Athens for talksGreek Foreign Minister Mr George Papandreou and Cyprus' Chief negotiator with the EU Mr George Vassiliou had a meeting in Athens yesterday, which focused on Cyprus' EU accession negotiations.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Papandreou described Cyprus' EU accession course as positive noting that Cyprus is moving forward at a great speed. The overall situation in Cyprus, relations with Turkey, the situation in Europe and the Balkans were issues that were also discussed at the meeting, he said.
For his part, Mr Vassiliou said that cooperation with the Greek Government and in particular with the Greek Foreign Ministry is excellent. He expressed the hope that four or five chapters of the acquis communautaire would be closed on May 17, which would bring Cyprus very near the conclusion of the EU negotiations.
The issue of the free movement of Cypriot citizens who live in the British Base areas was also discussed at the meeting, he said, adding that it would be examined further at a tripartite meeting between Britain, the European Union and Cyprus.
Referring to the Cyprus problem Mr Vassiliou noted that there had been no progress because the Turkish intransigence continued. He also stressed that the Greek Cypriot side remains firm in its position for substantive negotiations in the framework of the United Nations.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/