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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 01-11-23
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Friday, 23 November 2001
 President Clerides received the President of the European ParliamentThe President of the Republic of Cyprus, Glafkos Clerides, received on 22 November 2001, the President of the European Parliament, Nicole Fontaine, who is on an official visit to the island.
After the meeting, President Clerides made the following statement: " I had the opportunity to brief the President of the European Parliament for the current situation in the Cyprus problem and at the same time to thank her for the stance the European Parliament has adopted and for the support it gives to our accession course to the EU. I consider the visit of the President of the European Parliament to Cyprus at this turning point for the Cyprus problem of great importance".
On her part, Mrs Fontaine stated the following: " I have thanked the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Glafkos Clerides, for his invitation to visit Cyprus. This is my second visit to the island and this time I come under the capacity as President of the European Parliament. I am very sensitive towards the issue of Cyprus and I am also happy to have the chance to visit the island once more.
Cyprus' prospect to join the EU is very close since Cyprus is the first country which will be able to participate in the EU's Enlargement. This will take place by the year 2002, which is the deadline, in order for the states which will acceede the Union to participate in the Euro-elections in 2004.
I have congratulated President Clerides for the excellent progress achieved so far in the accession negotiations. Cyprus has its place in the European Union and its accession will act as a catalyst for the political solution of the Cyprus problem. We hope a solution to the Cyprus problem will be achieved in the context of the Organisation of the United Nations, however, we have said that the lack of a solution will not be an obstacle to Cyprus' accession to the EU".
Later on, Mrs Fontaine replied to questions put forward by journalists:
Question: The Turkish leadership believes that in the end the European Union will have to make a choice between giant Turkey and small Cyprus.
Answer: I could answer very clearly to this question by referring to the reply given by the European Parliament. As you are aware, the European Parliament has given its consent for the accession of a group of countries to the EU. I cannot imagine the European Parliament giving its consent to a group of countries without the inclusion of Cyprus.
Question: Which message would you like to send to the Turkish Cypriots and to Mr Denktash who for the last 27 years does not demonstrate any goodwill in resolving the Cyprus problem despite the fact that the European Union prefers the accession of a united island?
Answer: It is very sad that nothing has changed since my first visit to the island which had taken place following the request by the Union of the relatives of the enclaved. During my first visit, which was sentimentally burdened, I had realized, first hand, the consequences which had resulted from the Turkish occupation. With the Mayor of Nicosia I had the opportunity to visit the green line and to see the town of Famagusta. I was then told that there was a search for the solution of the Cyprus problem, that were proposals put forward by President Clerides but there was no positive gesture from the other side. The message I would like to send to the Turkish Cypriots is a call to come forth in order for this gesture to become a reality. I believe that the policy of blocking undertaken so far is not to the interest of the Turkish Cypriots.
 Nicole Fontaine: We consider Mr Denktash's presumptions as unacceptableThe President of the House of Representatives, Mr Demetris Christofias, on 22 November 2001, had a meeting with the President of the European Parliament, Mrs Nicole Fontaine, who is on an official visit to the island.
Mr Christofias thanked warmly the European Parliament and its President for the stance it kept over the years in relation to the Cyprus problem and to its people.
Mrs Fontaine noted that the prospect of the island's accession to the EU is coming closer especially since Cyprus is the best prepared candidate state and congratulated the House President for the excellent work which has been achieved so far in terms of the harmonisation of the acquis with the island's legislation and the way this had facilitated the closure of the negotiations' chapters.
"Today it is rational to expect that the negotiations will be over by the end of 2002, and as the European Parliament wishes, the candidate states which will be ready for accession, like Cyprus, will be able to participate in the next Euro-parliamentary elections in June 2004", Mrs Fontaine stated.
Mrs Fontaine, also referred to the issue of the northern part of the island's occupation and reminded of the European Parliament's firm position based on common values of freedom, respect of rule of law and human rights. She also wished for the solution of the Cyprus problem in the context of a federal state in Cyprus and she added that the set meeting on 4 December 2001 between President Clerides and Mr Denktash would provide positive elements towards this direction and that Mr Denktash would abandon the positions which were not accepted by the European Parliament. "And if in the timetable I have referred to a peaceful solution to the problem is not found, then we wish for Cyprus to join the European Union without a solution being a precondition for its accession", Mrs Fontaine concluded.
Later on Mrs Fontaine met with the President, Mr Tassos Papadopoulos, and the members of the House Committee of European Affairs. Referring to the Cyprus problem she stated that if a solution is not achieved before the island's accession to the EU then accession itself would act as a catalyst for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem.
 Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence return from BrusselsThe Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Ioannis Kasoulides and the Minister of efence Mr Socratis Hasikos returned from an official visit to Brussels on Wednesday, where they attended the "Capabilities Improvement Conference" organized by the Council of the European Union on 20 November.
Speaking on arrival at Larnaca airport, Mr Kasoulides stressed the importance of Cyprus' participation in the conference, which is held twice a year in Brussels and attended by the Foreign and Defence Ministers of the 15 European Union member states, the 13 candidate countries for EU accession and two NATO members, Norway and Iceland.
Mr Kasoulides pointed out that Cyprus' presence at the conference was essential, useful and important for European integration. "Our participation creates the conditions which would lead with certainty to Cyprus' accession to the European Union at the next enlargement," he said.
Invited to comment on the fact that it is customary for Turkey to hurl threats against Cyprus, Mr Kasoulides said that Turkey does not only threaten Cyprus, it also threatens the European Union. "Turkey's actions aim at forcing the European Union to rethink Cyprus' EU accession" he said, adding that from the various contacts he had, it was made clear to him that the European Union will not be shaken by such threats. "Moreover the European Union does not operate with threats or submit to them", he added.
In his statement, Defence Minister Socratis Hasikos said that at the conference he stressed that the Greek Cypriot side is making every effort for the resumption of the negotiations process to find a solution to the Cyprus problem, which would aim at the demilitarisation of the island.
The Defence Minister said that Turkey reacted to this position, noting that this is the third time that Turkey reacts in such a manner at this conference, insisting, that the "Greek Cypriot administration" and not the "official Cyprus state" is represented at the Conference.
Mr Hasikos noted that Turkey's intransigence and insistence on its adamant positions, regarding the recognition of its illegal state in Cyprus as well as a solution based on two states in the framework of a confederation, were confirmed at a meeting he had with the Turkish Defence Minister.
Asked how long the meeting with the Turkish Defence Minister lasted, Mr Hasikos replied that the meeting was held on the sidelines of the Conference and lasted long enough for him to understand clearly the messages and the intentions of the Turkish side. Mr Hasikos also noted that was clearly pointed out to him by the Turkish Defence Minister Mr Camakoglu that these positions represented the positions of Turkey and not of Mr Denktash.
 Hungarian Foreign Minister visits CyprusThe President of the House of Representatives Mr Demetris Christofias received yesterday the Foreign Minister of Hungary, Mr Janos Martonyi, who is currently visiting Cyprus.
During the meeting, Mr Christofias and Mr Martonyi discussed the Cyprus problem and exchanged views on the accession course of Cyprus and Hungary to the European Union.
The Hungarian Foreign Minister said during the meeting that he considers the prospect of Cyprus' accession to the European Union as a unique opportunity of finding a solution to the Cyprus problem.
Yesterday afternoon Mr Martonyi had a meeting with Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, while in the evening he attended a dinner given in his honour by his Cypriot counterpart.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/