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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 02-09-11
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Wednesday, 11 September 2002
 Verheugen briefs European Parliament on enlargementEnlargement Commissioner, Mr. Gunter Verheugen, briefed the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament (EP), yesterday, on the progress of the enlargement process. Mr. Verheugen said that the European Commission would make a clear recommendation, as to which countries would be ready to conclude accession negotiations by the end of this year, in its annual progress report, to be issued on 16 October 2002.
With regard to the issue of Cyprus' accession to the European Union and the solution of the political problem, the Commissioner noted that although a solution prior to accession is preferable by the EU, since Helsinki, a solution is not a precondition and that all relevant factors would be taken into consideration for the final decision on Cyprus. He also said that "it is late but not too late" for a solution to be reached and that he would welcome a Turkish initiative after the November general elections in Turkey. Furthermore, the EU official underlined that a solution could only be found within the framework of the UN peace process, which the EU supports.
As far as the nature of a solution is concerned, Mr. Verheugen stressed that the least the EU requires is for Cyprus to speak with one voice internationally and have strong and operational government structures, in order to apply the acquis communautaire over its entire sovereignty and take decisions. Political elements of an agreed settlement could be taken into consideration even at the last minute in the Accession Treaty, he concluded.
Asked, by EU MP Mr. Jacques Poos, to comment on the Turkish Foreign Minister's statements, that even if a solution is found Cyprus still cannot become an EU member, Mr. Verheugen rejected the Turkish "wrong and unacceptable" argument, as he called it, and stressed that the Republic Cyprus is the sole legitimate and internationally-recognised Government on the island and thus it is able to negotiate with the Union for its own accession. No third country has a right to veto the accession of a candidate state, Mr. Verheugen noted, adding that Turkey's stance on the Cyprus problem would affect the progress of EU-Turkish relations.
Commenting on an argument, raised by pro-Turkish EU MP Baroness Sarah Ludford, that Turkish Cypriots should be included in the accession negotiations, Commissioner Verheugen made reference to President Clerides' invitation to Mr. Denktash for Turkish Cypriot participation to the negotiating team, which was rejected by the Turkish Cypriot leader. Responding to Baroness Ludford's claim that the Turkish Cypriots are in a state of isolation, Mr. Verheugen put blame on Mr. Denktash for rejecting every effort to promote a dialogue between the two communities at the citizens' level. In case of a solution, he concluded, the EU would be willing to contribute financially to the development of the entire island.
 UN Secretary-General hopeful on Cyprus developmentsThe UN Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, commenting on the Paris meetings between the President of Cyprus, Mr. Glafcos Clerides and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr. Denktash, said that he encouraged the two men to work hard during the next weeks, until the New York meeting on 3 and 4 October, and that he really believed solutions to the various issues could be found.
Mr. Annan noted that the encounters were sincere and useful, although there was no breakthrough to the deadlock.
Asked to comment on whether a new deadline was set for the Cyprus problem, the UN Chief replied that he hoped for a breakthrough as soon as possible and preferably before the end of the year.
 Cyprus signs merchant shipping agreementThe Minister of Communications and Works, Mr. Averof Neophytou and the Director General of the Maritime Transport of the Belgian Ministry of Transports, Mr. Michael Joseph, signed yesterday in Nicosia a merchant shipping agreement between Cyprus, Belgium and Luxembourg.
The agreement provides for mutual recognition of the three countries' ship certificates as well as the certificates and identity documents of their seamen. It also provides for the equal treatment of vessels bearing the flag of any of the three countries, when docked in the others' ports.
Mr. Neophytou deemed the agreement as very important, since it is the first agreement Cyprus signs with an EU member state, and hoped that it will form the beginning for a further enhancement of relations between the three countries.
On his part, the Belgian official welcomed the signing of the agreement and expressed hope that Cyprus would join the EU soon.
 Cyprus Supreme Court President candidate for ICC JudgeThe Permanent Secretary of the Cyprus Ministry of Justice and Public Order, Dr. Lazaros Savvides, during his speech before the First Assembly of the States parties to the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) yesterday at the UN headquarters, announced the Republic's decision to submit the candidature of the President of the Cyprus Supreme Court, Mr. Yeorghios Pikis, for the post of a Judge of the ICC.
Addressing the Assembly, Dr. Savvides emphasised that Cyprus, being one of the first advocates of a permanent international criminal structure, was the 55th country to ratify the Rome Statute and was honoured to have actively contributed to all deliberations that lead to the establishment of the ICC.
As a representative of a country that continues to be a victim of illegal military occupation, the Permanent Secretary stressed, Cyprus attaches utmost importance to the provisions of the Statute. "We underline in particular the fact that the jurisdiction of the Court extends over war crimes and crimes against humanity, such as the forcible transfer of population, the enforced disappearances of persons and the refusal to give information about their fate, and the transfer by the occupying power of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies", he added.
Finally, the Cyprus delegate reiterated Cyprus' commitment and readiness to contribute to all efforts aiming at rendering the ICC a resourceful and reliable entity.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/