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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 01-04-17
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Tuesday, 17 April 2001
 House of Commons Foreign Affairs Fifth Report on EU EnlargementThe Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons circulated on 10 April, a short report entitled "European Union Enlargement and Nice Follow Up" which is an update of the 1998 - 1999 Committee Report on the subject. The Committee decided to follow up its previous report due to developments in the EU accession negotiations.
The reference to Cyprus in the follow up report is based on the evidence submitted by British Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Mr Keith Vaz.
The report states that progress towards membership is measured in terms of the number of chapters of the acquis communautaire opened and closed for negotiation between a candidate country and the EU. This numerical approach, however, "hides the fact that none of the candidates has yet resolved the thorniest issues: freedom of movement for persons, agriculture, competition policy, transport policy, taxation, environment and budget".
The report says that Cyprus has closed "17 out of 29 chapters and that sounds good", but the most difficult ones are to be closed and progress needs to be made on the difficult chapters. " If these nettles are not grasped in the near future, the danger is that negotiations will become bogged down at a late stage" the report adds.
In its reference to Cyprus, the Foreign Affairs Committee states as in the previous report, the Government of the United Kingdom, maintains that the de facto division of the island should not prevent Cyprus from acceding to full membership of the European Union, although it recognises that there are real political and practical difficulties.
On seeking some elucidation of how for example, freedom of movement across a divided island would work in practice, the Committee were surprised to learn that collectively within the EU these hypothetical situations had not been discussed.
In view of the fact that the chapter on freedom of movement has been opened in negotiations with the Cyprus government, the Foreign Affairs Committee "recommend that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office takes the earliest possible steps to open discussions within the EU on how in practical terms the far from hypothetical problem of the accession of Cyprus while it is still politically divided should be overcome."
On the question of whether Turkey has a veto over Cyprus's accession, the Committee decided the following:
"We continue to conclude that Turkey should not have a veto over the accession of Cyprus, and recommend that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office intensifies its efforts to secure EU-wide agreement to this position".
 Reference to Cyprus in House of Commons Adjournment DebateBritish Labour Member of Parliament Mr Tom Cox raised the issue of Cyprus in the House of Commons Adjournment debate on 10 April.
In his speech Mr Cox referred to the 1974 Turkish invasion and to the repeated unfruitful attempts to find a settlement to the Cyprus problem and added:
"Cyprus is important to Britain because both countries are members of the Commonwealth. After almost 27 years of occupation and countless talks and discussions, what real progress has been made towards a meaningful settlement? One has only to read the statements and views of the United Nations on why there has been no development that could lead to a settlement. In a word, the reason is Mr Denktash. He is the reason why there has been no progress. What is the United Kingdom's position on the proximity talks? I accept that we support them, but are we doing enough to ensure that they are on the road to meaningful discussions? What is the EU doing? What is the United States of America doing?"
Replying to Mr Cox, the Parliamentary Secretary of the Privy Council Office Mr Paddy Tipping said, "the Government are committed to working with the United Nations to try to resolve the problems, despite all the difficulties".
 Britain will remain strongly engaged in seeking Tsakourmas' releaseThe British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Mr Keith Vaz, in a written reply to a question regarding the case of Panikos Tsiakourmas put forward by Labour Member of Parliament Mr Tom Cox on 10 April in the House of Commons, stated the following:
"We remain deeply concerned about the continued detention of Mr Tsiakourmas. During my visit Cyprus on 14 March, I raised the issue with Mr Denktash and urged him to find a satisfactory resolution to the case. I also met Mrs Tsiakourmas and reassured her that we would remain strongly engaged in seeking Mr Tsiakourmas' release".
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/