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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 02-05-24
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Friday, 24 May 2002
 President Clerides returns from AthensThe President of the Republic Mr Glafcos Clerides returned yesterday from Athens where he had talks with the Greek political leadership.
In a short statement to the press at Larnaca Airport, President Clerides said that he was returning from Athens fully satisfied with the discussions and the exchange of views he had with the Greek President Costis Stephanopoulos, the Prime Minister Costas Simitis, the President of the Greek Parliament Apostolos Kaklamanis and the rest of the political leadership. He also said his visit to Athens was very useful and productive.
Replying to a question as to whether June was an expiry date for the direct talks on Cyprus, President Clerides said that no decision had been made on this, noting that there should, of course, be an expiry date but what this expiry date would be, would depend on developments.
Asked whether the instability in Ankara and the political as well as health deterioration of Mr Ecevit was affecting developments on the Cyprus problem, the President explained that if elections took place in Turkey and there was a coalition government, since no party had the majority, until that new government decided how to handle certain issues, then obviously there would be a delay.
Invited to comment on the fact that Mr Simitis expressed the full support of Greece on all levels, except on the diplomatic and political level, the President said that the Greek Premier as well as the Greek political leadership made it very clear that the Cyprus issue, remains Greece's number one national issue and stressed that Greece supports Cyprus on all levels.
Asked to comment on rumours concerning the possibility of grouping the Cyprus problem with other issues such as Greco - Turkish relations, President Clerides said that he was surprised to read such things in newspapers.
Replying to a question on efforts to link the solution of the Cyprus problem with the accession of Cyprus to the European Union, the President said that this issue was one of the scenarios he had discussed with Mr Simitis, adding that he could not make any statements on this issue until the briefing of the National Council on Monday 27 May 2002.
Asked whether Greece and Cyprus are ready to deal, on all levels, with the possibility of Turkey reacting to Cyprus' European Union accession, President Clerides stressed that Greece will give its full support to Cyprus on all levels.
 EU-Cyprus Joint Parliamentary Committee begins its work in NicosiaThe 21st EU-Cyprus Joint Parliamentary Committee began its work at the International Conference Centre in Nicosia on Wednesday 22 May, with the Committee's Co-Chairpersons Tassos Papadopoulos and Mechtild Rothe addressing the opening session.
According to the Cyprus News Agency, in his address Mr Papadopoulos referred to the Cyprus problem and noted that the Greek Cypriot side has been constructive in the direct talks whereas the Turkish side is not even willing to start substantive talks on the four core issues, as outlined by the UN Secretary General. He also underlined that Turkey was unwilling to contribute to a solution of the Cyprus issue, unless its demand for the recognition of two states was accepted.
Referring to the Cyprus' accession he expressed the conviction that the European Commission would include, in its 2002 Regular Report, Cyprus among the countries ready for accession.
The German MEP and Co President of the JPC Mechtild Rothe said that Turkey could not prevent or delay Cyprus' accession to the EU, adding that it would be beneficial for Turkey if it contributed to efforts for a solution to the Cyprus problem.
She stressed that any Turkish aggression aiming to prevent Cyprus' accession to the EU would have an impact on Turkey's European perspective.
Mrs Rothe said she looked forward to Cyprus' accession and expressed the hope that Cypriot parliamentarians, including Turkish Cypriots, would participate in the European Parliament's elections in 2004.
Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said in his speech at yesterday's session that the current period offers the best opportunity ever to reach a solution to the Cyprus problem, and expressed the Cyprus Government's determination not to leave unexploited this window of opportunity.
Mr Kasoulides said that Cyprus' efforts to join the EU gives an impetus to the ongoing direct peace talks between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and stressed that the Turkish threats for tension in Cyprus, should the island enter the EU prior to a settlement, would not prevent Cyprus' European course.
Concerning the future settlement of the Cyprus problem he said that it should not contain those ingredients that may lead to the legal separation and partition of the country and noted that so far there are no positive signs in the direct talks process.
The Greek Cypriot side has responded to the Turkish Cypriot concerns but the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has not yet responded to the fears and concerns of the Greek Cypriot community, he said.
Mr Kasoulides expressed the hope that the Seville European Council (June 2002) and the G8 meeting would use their influence in giving a determined position if the talks proceed as they have been doing since last December.
He also expressed certainty that the European Commission in its recommendations to the European Council, to be submitted October 2002, would include Cyprus among the countries ready to join the EU at its next enlargement.
The Spanish Ambassador to Cyprus Mr Garcia Valdecasas, speaking on behalf of the Spanish Presidency of the European Union said that the EU would like to see Cyprus participating to the 2004 European Parliament elections, as a member state of the Union. Cyprus' EU accession process serves as a catalyst to the efforts for a solution to the problem of Cyprus, he said.
Ambassador Valdecasas underlined Cyprus' contribution to the settlement of the issue of the 13 Palestinians as well as the importance of the island's contribution to the Euro Mediterranean partnership.
The Director of the Enlargement General Directorate of the European Commission Michael Leigh said in his address that Cyprus' accession process and direct talks were two separate issues. He also said that the acquis communautaire is not an obstacle to the solution of the Cyprus problem but stressed that after a solution Cyprus should speak and function with a single voice.
 Presentation of credentialsMr Argyros Antoniou presented, on 23 May 2002,his credentials to the President of the Republic of Gambia Mr Alhaji Dr Yahya AJJ Jammeh, as Cyprus' first Ambassador to Gambia.
Speaking after the ceremony the President of Gambia referred to the excellent relations between the two countries and expressed the wish for further developing economic and trade relations.
He also expressed the wish for a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem a solution that would be inline with the UN resolutions and the rule of international law adding that his country will continue to firmly support Cyprus in its just cause.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/