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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 02-09-24
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Tuesday, 24 September 2002
 Greek Foreign Minister meets with UN Envoy on CyprusThe Greek Foreign Minister, Mr. George Papandreou, met yesterday with the Special Adviser of the Secretary General of the UN on Cyprus, Mr. Alvaro de Soto.
After the meeting, Mr. Papandreou stated that he had the opportunity to elaborate further on the Greek Government's views on the Cyprus problem, the relations between Turkey and Greece and the accession of Cyprus to the EU. He also said that there is an opportunity, which needs to be seized, for a solution of the Cyprus problem, based on the European acquis communautaire and the UN Resolutions. The Greek Government would prefer a solution before the accession of Cyprus to the EU, he added.
On his part, Mr. De Soto, said that there was a discussion of substance on the efforts of the UN for a solution to the Cyprus problem, adding there is a great deal of work to be done. Noting that the opportunity for a solution must not be missed, he expressed the hope that these efforts would bring results in the near future.
Replying to a question, Mr. De Soto said that there were some deep gaps present and that there was a distinct possibility for these to be bridged.
 President Clerides accepts credentials of new AmbassadorsThe President of the Republic, Mr. Glafcos Clerides, received yesterday at the Presidential Palace, at separate ceremonies, the credentials of the new Ambassadors of the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and the European Commission to Cyprus.
Presenting his credentials, the new Czech Ambassador to Cyprus, Mr. Martin Vavra, conveyed his President, Mr. Vaclav Havel's regards and referred to the "amicable and full of respect" relations between the two countries, which are closely connected now in view of their common EU membership. In relation to the Cyprus problem, Ambassador Vavra stated his country's support for "a peaceful, just and lasting solution based on a State of Cyprus with a single sovereignty and international personality and a single citizenship, with its independence and territorial integrity safeguarded", adding that "the prospects of Cyprus' entry into the European Union will be conducive to the resolution of the Cyprus problem".
The Dutch Ambassador, Mr. Maximiliaan Gevers, who is the first resident ambassador of the Netherlands to Cyprus, conveyed to President Clerides the good wishes of Her Majesty Queen Beatrix and pledged his Government's firm wish to enhance the already excellent relations between the two countries. Expressing his Government's commitment to the EU enlargement process, he noted that the accession of an undivided Cyprus would contribute to the stability and welfare of the entire European continent, although a solution to the Cyprus problem is not a precondition.
Finally, the new Ambassador of the European Commission to Cyprus, Mr. Adriaan Van der Meer, expressed the belief that "the Union's southward enlargement will indeed bring a new geographic dimension to the Union", adding that "Cyprus' prospective role in this dimension will be instrumental". Furthermore, Ambassador Van der Meer reaffirmed the EU's commitment to the Helsinki and Seville European Council conclusions on Cyprus and its support to the UN-led peace process and the Secretary-General's initiatives. Referring to his intentions as the new Ambassador in Cyprus, Mr. Van der Meer pledged "to accelerate financial assistance, to further stimulate bi- communal contacts and to increase understanding of the accession process among the citizens of Cyprus". He also conveyed a message of friendship and cooperation from the European Commission President, Mr. Romano Prodi.
In his replies, President Clerides welcomed the three diplomats in Cyprus and returned the wishes they conveyed to him. He assured them of the Cyprus Government's determination to continue its efforts for finding a just and viable settlement to the Cyprus problem, which would be consistent with the UN Resolutions on Cyprus and the EU acquis communautaire. Referring to Cyprus' EU accession course in particular, the President expressed the hope that Cyprus would become a full member at the next phase of enlargement and noted that this would be beneficial to both communities on the island, enhancing prosperity and security for all Cypriots.
 Finnish Government supports Cyprus/ EU accessionThe Chief Negotiator for Cyprus accession to the EU, Mr. George Vassiliou, met on Monday with the Finnish Special Envoy on Cyprus, Ambassador Mr. Pekka Korvenheimo.
After the meeting, Mr. Korvenheimo, said that the relations between Finland and Cyprus have always been friendly, and that, at the meeting with Mr. Vassiliou there was a constructive exchange of views on issues concerning Cyprus/ EU accession course. Mr. Korvenheimo assured Mr. Vassiliou that the stand of the Finnish Government in relation to Cyprus/ EU accession would be consistent, and that Cyprus would constitute one of the first candidate countries acceding at the next EU enlargement.
Commenting on an article by the Greek newspaper "Vima" on Sunday in relation to the Annual Report of the European Commission on Cyprus/ accession to the EU, Mr. Vassiliou stated that Cyprus/ accession course is certainly proceeding well, in line with Copenhagen criteria and expects that the Report of the Commission which will be circulated to all interested parties on 9 October, will be very positive. Mr. Vassiliou added that based on these facts, he certainly expects that at the Copenhagen European Summit on 14 December, the accession of Cyprus to the EU together with that of the other nine candidate countries will be ratified.
Referring to the Turkish threats, Mr. Vassiliou said that they should be handled calmly although they should be taken very seriously. However, he added, they constitute a political manoeuvre on the part of Turkey in order to affect adversely the EU stand on Cyprus accession. Mr. Vassiliou concluded that an aggression would undoubtedly block Turkey's accession to the EU, something that Turkey does not wish for.
 Government concern over situation in RamallahThe Government of the Republic of Cyprus expresses its deep concern over the developments in Ramallah and the actions of the Israeli Army aiming at the Headquarters of President Arafat.
The Government of Cyprus strongly condemns the recent suicide bombing attacks, which resulted at the loss of lives of innocent Israeli civilians. These attacks, however, cannot be considered a justification for the siege of the Al-Mouqata Compound.
The statement of the Israeli Foreign Minister, Mr. Shimon Peres, assuring that no harm is intended against President Arafat himself is welcomed and this must be followed immediately with additional measures that will lead to the normalization of the situation.
We urge the Government of Israel to show restraint and bring to an end the present blockade which complicates both the progress achieved on the ground and the efforts of the Quartet.
 Finance Minister to participate at Commonwealth meetingThe Minister of Finance, Mr. Takis Klerides, will represent Cyprus at the Annual Commonwealth Finance Ministers Meeting, which will take place in London from 24-26 September 2002.
At the meeting, Mr. Klerides will talk about the current world economy from the EU perspective. He will also have the opportunity to meet with his British counterpart, Mr. Gordon Brown, to exchange views on the development of the world economy.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/