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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 99-11-25
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Thursday, 25 November 1999
Speaking at Larnaca airport he said the status quo in Cyprus is unacceptable and that he is visiting the island in view of two important developments - the proximity talks on the Cyprus problem and the EU summit in Helsinki.
He said he comes to Cyprus to both brief and be briefed and hopes to have everyone's support in the difficult negotiations that lie ahead.
He added that while it is still not certain what his country's stand in Helsinki will be, Greece's support for Cyprus is steadfast and unfailing.
"But whatever happens in Helsinki, one thing is for sure, we shall have made one more step towards realising our vision for the future", he said.
Mr Papandreou will meet with Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides this afternoon and will then give a press conference.
Tomorrow he will be received by President Glafcos Clerides and is also expected to meet with the President of the House of Representatives Spyros Kyprianou.
Asked to comment on a statement by the Turkish President, Mr Suleyman Demirel, that if a Cyprus solution were enforced then Turkey would come into confrontation with Greece, Mr Papapetrou said:
"Our aim is to achieve, through the talks, such a solution peacefully. We shall be attending these talks with all good will", he said.
Asked to comment on a statement by the German Chancellor, Mr Gerhard Schroeder, that the aim at Helsinki was to accept Turkey as an EU candidate country, Mr Papapetrou said Cyprus was not opposed to such an eventuality but did not think Turkey could be the only exception among all the other countries. He said, moreover, that this should be associated and connected with specific gestures by Turkey and also with its political behaviour.
Briefing the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee in Brussels yesterday on the latest developments regarding Turkey's candidacy, the Commissioner said that the question whether to look at Cyprus' application to join the EU in a different light, is also being discussed in EU circles.
He referred specifically to a press release which shows a change in the official French stance, which up until a year ago has been saying that Cyprus cannot join the EU before the Cyprus problem is solved.
Now, he added, France is showing greater flexibility to this question, as are the UK and Germany.
This is a significant change that has occurred over the last few weeks, he added, and fully corresponds with Greece's policies.
Mr Verheugen said that if Cyprus should be allowed to join the EU once its entry negotiations are concluded even if a solution to the Cyprus problem has not yet been achieved, otherwise it would be tantamount to giving the right to veto to a third country.
Referring to a meeting that EU Foreign Ministers had with Turkey's Foreign Minister on the sidelines of the OSCE summit in Istanbul last week, Mr Verheugen said that as regards the Cyprus problem Turkey has given a specific message in the right direction. Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's agreement to attend the forthcoming proximity talks in New York did not come out of the blue.
He pointed out that Greece is justified in expecting some kind of guarantee that Mr Denktash will not just pack his bags and leave New York as soon as the Helsinki meeting ends. Greece expects the negotiations will continue and be substantive, a view that the EU member-states also support.
Mr Verheugen concluded by saying that if the Council adopts the Committee's recommendations in Helsinki, then pre-entry strategy will be developed for Turkey, which will not differ from that given to other candidate countries.
The EU will then expect that Turkey adopt a national action plan outlining how it will put the EU's priorities into practice.
"The issue of a resolution of the Cyprus problem is not an issue of coercion," Greek Government Spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.
He said it was "nonsensical" for a country being considered for inclusion in the European Union to be "held hostage" by Turkey, a country which is not even a member of the European Union.
Relations between Europe and Turkey will be judged at the EU summit in Helsinki and that is the time when the government will deal with the problems, Mr Reppas said.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/