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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 01-04-09

Cyprus Press and Information Office: News Updates in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

Monday, 9 April 2001


CONTENTS

  • [01] Foreign Minister continues his contacts in Washington
  • [02] Minister of Interior returns from Slovenia
  • [03] Cyprus' EU Negotiator lectures in Dublin
  • [04] Presentation of Credentials


[01] Foreign Minister continues his contacts in Washington

Cyprus Foreign Minister Mr Ioannis Kasoulides, who is continuing his contacts in Washington, spoke on 5 April at the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars on the subject of "Cyprus: Reunification and membership in the EU".

At the beginning of his speech, Mr Kasoulides briefed his audience on the recent developments in the Cyprus problem, emphasizing the lack of political will on the part of the Turkish side to find a solution to the Cyprus problem, and to participate in a new round of UN-led proximity talks.

"The international community is frustrated by the fact that so many efforts have failed in reaching a settlement in the case of Cyprus and in achieving the reunification of our country" he said. He explained that the UN-led proximity talks were interrupted due to the Turkish Cypriot leader's withdrawal from the talks, which he considered "a waste of time", since they were not leading to what he was prepared to accept, as a solution of the Cyprus problem.

The Foreign Minister underlined that apart from this negative development in the Cyprus problem, there have been also two positive developments in the last few years.

The first and most important for Cyprus, he said, was the European Council decision taken in Helsinki in 1999, stipulating that a settlement on the island is not a precondition for its accession even though it would be more desirable to have a reunited Cyprus join its ranks. The second important decision was the decision to accept Turkey as a candidate country for membership to the EU, he added.

Mr Kasoulides stressed that "if the message that goes to Turkey and to Mr Denktash is that Cyprus' accession to the European Union is imminent and inevitable with or without a settlement" then this could be the only existing realistic, positive leverage that can be applied to bend the intransigent policy followed by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and Turkey.

The EU accession negotiations, which opened in 1998, are due to be concluded by the year 2002, he said and added: "We want to see our country reunited preferably before the next enlargement so that we can join as a united country, the European Union".

Mr Kasoulides also pointed out that Cyprus' EU accession would be beneficial to Greece as well as to the European Union. "The responsibilities of Greece as the guarantor power for the territorial integrity and the independence of Cyprus will somehow be relieved and would allow Greece to play its constructive role as the sole NATO country and the European Union country in the Balkans", he said. Greece in cooperation with Turkey can contribute to stability in the Balkan area, where detente is necessary between these two countries to achieve it, he added.

The European Union itself will benefit from Cyprus' accession because it will expand the European space to the shores of the Eastern Mediterranean. Cyprus, he said, has excellent relations with all its neighbours, all the Arab countries in the area and Israel, and is a well-trained business centre, which can offer its services to European firms for business in the region of the Middle East and beyond. Moreover, Cyprus will bring to the European Union with its geography, its history and culture.

On Friday 6 April, Mr Kasoulides, had a meeting with media representatives whom he briefed on the developments in the Cyprus problem, the island's EU accession course and on the government's cooperation with the Yugoslavian authorities and the Hague international tribunal, searching for funds from Yugoslavia that were allegedly channelled through Cyprus. He also met with senior officials of think tanks and paid a courtesy visit to the American Hellenic Institute.

In the evening, he had a working dinner with leading members of the Greek American community, hosted by the Republic's Ambassador in Washington Mrs Erato Kozakou Markoulli.

[02] Minister of Interior returns from Slovenia

The Minister of Interior Mr Christodoulos Christodoulou returned from Slovenia on 7 April, where he attended the 5th European Conference of Ministers responsible for Cultural Heritage.

The conference was held under the auspices of the Council of Europe and was attended by 200 representatives from sixty countries and international organizations. It covered issues relating to the challenges of globalisation, market dynamics and social coherence.

Speaking to the press on arrival Mr Christodoulou said that he had the opportunity to remind all participants that in the area of Cyprus illegally occupied by Turkey, 520 Greek Orthodox and Armenian churches have been desecrated, looted and destroyed; that 13,000 religious icons were stolen from monasteries and churches; that in 1997, the Turkish smuggler Aydin Dickmen was arrested in Germany for possessing icons, which belonged to 46 Cyprus churches.

Mr Christodoulou noted that for the first time the Turkish Deputy Minister stated that his country is ready to respond, if the Cyprus Government provides Turkey with a list and data on the stolen icons and objects. Mr Christodoulou stressed that this is the first time that a member of the Turkish government made a public statement to this end, and that it would be utilized.

[03] Cyprus' EU Negotiator lectures in Dublin

The Head of Cyprus' Negotiating Team for European Union accession, Mr George Vassiliou, returned to Cyprus on 7 April, after a three-day official visit to Ireland.

During his visit, Mr Vassiliou gave a lecture at the Institute of European Affairs of Dublin on the issue of "Cyprus and the European Union". Mr Vassiliou referred to the latest developments in the accession negotiations; the future of the EU vis-a-vis the Nice Treaty and the accession of new members to the Union; the economic situation in Cyprus and the catalytic role the accession course is expected to play on the settlement of the Cyprus problem.

Foreign ambassadors, members of Parliament senior officials of the Irish Foreign Ministry, journalists, academics and other personalities attended the lecture.

Following the lecture, Mr Vassiliou had a meeting with the leader of the Labour Party of Ireland, Mr Ruairi Quinn, who expressed his party's warm support for Cyprus' accession to the EU, the soonest possible and for the solution of the Cyprus problem on the basis of the relevant UN resolutions.

[04] Presentation of Credentials

The Ambassador of Cyprus to Spain Ms Athena Mavronicola presented her credentials to the President of Chile, Mr Ricardo Lagos. Ms Mavronicola briefed Mr Lagos on the latest developments on the Cyprus issue.

The Chilean President showed special interest in Cyprus' EU course, expressing his country's support for Cyprus' accession course and the solution of the Cyprus problem.


From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/


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