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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 02-05-23
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Thursday, 23 May 2002
 President Clerides meets with Greek Prime MinisterThe President of the Republic Mr Glafcos Clerides, who is currently in Athens for talks with the Greek Government, had discussions yesterday with the Greek Prime Minister Mr Costas Simitis, which focused on the Cyprus problem and Cyprus' EU accession course. Present at the meeting were Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, the Attorney General of the Republic Alecos Markides, the Government Spokesman Mr Michalis Papapetrou and other aides accompanying the President.
In a statement after the talks, the Greek Prime Minister said that there was full understanding between the governments of Greece and Cyprus on the need to coordinate their actions to promote a political settlement in Cyprus and successfully conclude Cyprus' accession to the European Union. During the meeting, the two governments discussed ways in which the two goals they had set out could be achieved, he said.
Mr Simitis noted that the Greek Cypriot side has a very constructive approach at the talks, while the Turkish Cypriot side remains attached to its intransigent positions and insists on the recognition of two sovereign states in Cyprus, which has resulted in the absence of any progress at the direct talks so far.
The Greek Premier reiterated Cyprus' and Greece's support for the efforts of the United Nations Secretary General in finding a viable solution based on the UN Security Council resolutions, the international conventions on Human Rights, the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and the acquis communautaire.
"We want to create a bizonal, bicommunal federation, with one sovereignty and one international personality," he said.
Mr Simitis underlined the importance of the end of June target date and said that everybody must observe it because, as he said "we cannot be talking for ever, we have to have an expiry date for these discussions". He also stressed that the solution must promote the element of the functionality of the Republic of Cyprus, namely for Cyprus to function as one state in the European Union and in parallel to be able to adopt and implement the acquis communautaire and to take decisions.
The Greek Premier assured that the Cyprus issue remains Greece's number one national issue and that his country will make every possible effort to find a political settlement and achieve Cyprus' accession to the European Union, which will create conditions of peace, security and prosperity to all Cypriots.
Replying to a question on the possibility of grouping together various issues such as the Euro - Army, the Cyprus problem and Euro-Turkish relations, the Greek Premier said that the two governments have the obligation to take into account all possible scenarios and be ready to act effectively. He underlined that there is no official statement linking accession to a prior solution of the Cyprus problem and no indication that Cyprus is not making every necessary effort to settle its political problem.
In his remarks, President Clerides said that the meeting with the Greek Premier was 'extremely important' because it came after four months of direct talks and after the visit of UN Secretary General to Cyprus. He also said that during the meeting with Mr Simitis, they examined the current situation and future moves.
The President thanked the Prime Minister and the Greek Government for the attention they give to the solution of the Cyprus problem and the island's efforts to accede to the European Union.
Asked whether the UN is expected to apportion blame, if by June there was no progress in the talks, President Clerides said it was too early to predict what might happen and explained that the UN Secretary General would make up his mind on the matter after he is briefed by his Special Adviser on Cyprus Mr Alvaro de Soto. The President added that Mr Annan would submit a report on his Good Offices' Mission, which would be based on his own assessments following his visit to Cyprus and on whether after his visit there had been any efforts for progress in the talks on the part of the Turkish side.
In the framework of his visit to the Greek capital, President Clerides also had meetings with the Greek President Mr Costis Stephanopoulos and the President of the Greek Parliament Mr Apostolos Kaklamanis.
Today the President is scheduled to meet with the leader of New Democracy Mr Costas Karamanlis and other political party leaders, before returning to Cyprus in the afternoon.
 Twelve of the thirteen Palestinians leave CyprusTwelve of the 13 Palestinians, who were brought to Cyprus after being released from the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, left Cyprus yesterday on board two aeroplanes heading to six European countries that have agreed to take them in. Three of the Palestinians were transferred to Italy, three to Spain, two to Greece, two to Ireland, one to Portugal and one to Belgium. The thirteenth Palestinian will temporarily stay in Cyprus until a country has agreed to take him in.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Ioannis Kasoulides, speaking after the departure of the 12 Palestinians from Cyprus expressed satisfaction because finally Cyprus, with its own contribution, assisted the European Union in successfully completing an important operation to humanity, which resulted in putting an end to the stand - off of the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem.
Mr Kasoulides congratulated the Spanish Presidency for the efforts it had made towards the successful operation, underlining at the same time that Cyprus has shown patience awaiting the arrangements to be made in the European Union. He explained that one of the 13 Palestinians will remain in Cyprus, most probably for a few weeks until the 12 Palestinians have settled down in the countries of their stay and another EU country is prompted to accept him as well.
 Canada supports Cyprus' EU accession without preconditionsThe Foreign Minister of Canada Mr Bill Graham had a meeting on 16 May 2002 with members of the Greek and Cypriot communities in Canada, which focused on the latest developments in the Cyprus problem and on the recent visit of the UN Secretary General Mr Kofi Annan to Cyprus.
Mr Graham expressed his country's support for the accession of Cyprus to the European Union without preconditions, with or without the solution of the Cyprus problem. Turkey must realise that the continuing occupation of Cyprus is not acceptable, he said.
He stressed that the Turkish troops have to withdraw from the island and that Cyprus' accession to the EU should act as a catalyst for the solution of the Cyprus problem for the benefit of both interested parties in Cyprus as well as Turkey.
The Canadian Foreign Minister said that he would raise the issue with Mr Solana as well as at the next NATO - EU summit.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/