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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 02-03-15
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Friday, 15 March 2002
 Cyprus to participate in the Barcelona European CouncilThe President of the Republic Mr Glafcos Clerides departed yesterday afternoon for Barcelona, to participate in the Barcelona European Council to be held on 15 and 16 March, at the invitation of the Spanish Presidency. The Ministers Finance and Foreign Affairs will also attend the summit.
Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, in a statement prior to his departure for Barcelona yesterday morning, paid tribute to Spyros Kyprianou whose funeral he said he could not attend due to the fact that he would have to leave ahead of the President for Barcelona. Mr Kasoulides said that he had expressed his sincere condolences to the family of the deceased, whom he had the opportunity to know as a man and as a humanitarian.
Asked to comment on Mr Verheugen's statement, that following his recent visit to Cyprus, he was optimistic that there would be a solution of the Cyprus problem within the year 2002 and that he hoped that a united Cyprus would accede the EU, Mr Kasoulides said that he shared Mr Verheugen's view in the sense that he too wished to see a united Cyprus joining the EU. Mr Kasoulides stressed that he had reservations about the prospects of a Cyprus settlement this year, saying that optimism at this stage was not justified. However, he would not rule out an optimistic outlook for a solution in the future.
Replying to questions on the possibility of Mr Denktash making minor concessions at the talks in order to appear flexible, Mr Kasoulides said that all the people who are in a position to assess the state of play at the talks and therefore follow the talks through in the future, will be in a position to make a correct evaluation and decide whether something is a real concession or not and what its importance is. He also said that the moves of mediators depend on what goes on at the negotiating table and not on what Mr Denktash says in his statements.
Asked what Cyprus expects from the Barcelona summit, Mr Kasoulides said that the summit is an exercise for the candidate countries on the decisions taken by the European Union member countries on various important matters concerning the European family. Candidate countries are given the opportunity to express their views and to contribute on issues that the European Council Summit deals with, mainly economic and social issues based on the Lisbon Strategy.
Mr Kasoulides explained that this is an innovation by the Spanish Presidency, which would like the candidate for accession countries to involve themselves in these kind of discussions and familiarise themselves with procedures and objectives in order to adapt more easily as future member states.
Moreover, the Foreign Minister said he believed it was a wise decision on the part of the Spanish Presidency to invite them to the Summit, because it was constructive to participate in meetings, which deal with core European issues other than EU enlargement
 Peter Hain: Cyprus is entitled to join the EU if a settlement is not achievedThe British Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Mr Peter Hain, replying to a question by Linda Perham MP, during a debate on Enlargement in the House of Commons on 12 March, on whether he was confident that Cyprus would be among the first wave of countries to be admitted to the EU in 2002 whether or not there was a solution to the problem of the division of the island, and whether he would visit Cyprus to discuss its application, stated the following:
"Peter Hain: I acknowledge my hon. Friend's work in the House for the Friends of Cyprus group. It does excellent work to bring the voice of Cyprus into our deliberations.
I intend to visit Cyprus in the near future, and that is crucial because we are seen as champions of EU enlargement. Countries such as Cyprus see us as their friends, but they do not see the Conservative Opposition as their friends, because the Tories voted against the Nice treaty, which will allow Cyprus into the EU.
Cyprus has already closed 24 of the 29 chapters that it has opened in the negotiations preceding its accession to the EU. We hope that the process will continue and that, if at all possible, Cyprus will come in as a united island after a bi-communal, bi-zonal peace settlement has been achieved. However, if that is not possible, the Republic of Cyprus and its Government is recognised by the EU as entitled to join if they complete the negotiations".
 Britain strongly supports the accession of Cyprus to the EU, irrespective of the solution of the Cyprus problemThe British Minister for Trade, Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean, stated during a debate on Cyprus in the House of Lords on 12 March that "the best chance of a reunited Cyprus joining the European Union lies in supporting the current United Nations-brokered settlement talks in Cyprus."
Replying to a question put forward by Lord Wallace of Saltaire who asked Her Majesty's Government "what steps they are taking to promote the entry of a reunited Cyprus to the European Union", Baroness Symons said: "We and other member states are therefore working to support that process and the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, the Government's special representative, is active in that respect."
Asked by Lord Corbett of Castle Vale whether she would “reiterate the views of Her Majesty's Government and the rest of the European Union that the accession of Cyprus to the EU does not depend upon reunification of the island, much as members of both Cypriot communities and others elsewhere want to see that”, Baroness Symons said:
"My Lords, I agree entirely with my noble friend. However, the United Kingdom strongly supports the discussions underway between the two sides in Cyprus. We also strongly support the accession of Cyprus to the EU. But let me say categorically that neither we, nor the European Union, believe that such coming together in Cyprus is a precondition for accession. That was made abundantly clear at the Helsinki European Council, but for the purposes of further clarity I repeat that now to your Lordships".
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/