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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 99-12-13
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Monday, 13 December 1999
In the conclusions of the European Council's summit meeting in Helsinki, EU leaders welcomed the launch of the talks aiming at a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem on 3 December in New York and expressed its strong support for the U.N. Secretary-General's efforts to bring the process to a successful conclusion.
Underlining that a political settlement will facilitate the accession of Cyprus to the European Union, the Council said:
"If no settlement has been reached by the completion of accession negotiations, the Council's decision on accession will be made without the above being a precondition. In this the Council will take account of all relevant factors."
The European Council reaffirmed the inclusive nature of the accession process, which now comprises 13 candidate states within a single framework.
It said that candidate states are participating in the accession process on an equal footing. They must share the values and objectives of the European Union as set out in the treaties.
In this respect the European Council stresses the principle of peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with the United Nations Charter and urges candidate states to make every effort to resolve any outstanding border disputes and other related issues. Failing this they should within a reasonable time bring the dispute to the International Court of Justice.
The European Council will review the situation relating to any outstanding disputes, in particular concerning the repercussions on the accession process and in order to promote their settlement through the International Court of Justice, at the latest by the end of 2004.
Moreover, the European Council recalls that compliance with the political criteria laid down at the Copenhagen European Council is a prerequisite for the opening of accession negotiations and that compliance with all the Copenhagen criteria is the basis for accession to the Union.
It welcomed recent positive developments in Turkey as noted in the Commission's progress report, as well as its intention to continue its reforms towards complying with the Copenhagen criteria.
"Turkey", it said, "is a candidate state destined to join the Union on the basis of the same criteria as applied to the other candidate states".
In written statement issued in New York yesterday just before meeting UN Secretary- General's Special Adviser Alvaro de Soto within the framework of the ongoing proximity talks on Cyprus, President Glafcos Clerides said the decisions taken in Helsinki "established the principle which will guide the decisions of the EU during the 21st century".
With its decisions, he added, the European Council "makes absolutely clear that the solution of problems must be by peaceful means and that any candidate country including Turkey must demonstrate that they accept and implement human rights as well as they harmonise their laws and institutions with the acquis communautaire".
He once again extended an invitation to the Turkish-Cypriot community to participate in the delegation negotiating the island's accession to the EU, welcomed Turkey in the ranks of candidate countries and expressed his thanks and appreciation to the EU Heads of State and Government for their decisions and in particular to the Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis for "all he has done for Cyprus".
"It is clear that from now on the process of Cyprus' accession to the EU will be unimpeded, and that a solution of the Cyprus problem will not be a condition for Cypriot membership," he said.
Speaking at a press conference in Helsinki, Mr Simitis expressed his "full satisfaction" over the agreement reached at the EU summit in Helsinki and said that Greece had achieved all its goals.
"Greece had asked right from the start for clear positions and had stressed that Turkey's candidacy would have to be real and not virtual. Also, that there should be certainty as to the future course of action, emanating from the implementation of the rules of international law," he added.
EU leaders accepted the three conditions set by Athens for approving Turkey's candidacy, namely, that a solution to the Cyprus problem will not be a precondition for an EU decision on the island republic's accession; that Turkey's various territorial disputes with Greece be referred to the International Court of Justice at The Hague within a specific timeframe; and that the same conditions apply to Turkey as to the 11 other candidates states, emphasising the need for an enhanced dialogue on human rights with a view to Ankara meeting the Copenhagen criteria on entry negotiations.
"It is an historic decision for peace and security in the region, which will help the relations between the two countries, and opens the road to constructive cooperation to the benefit of both Greece and Turkey," Mr. Simitis said.
Moreover, Greece's Foreign Minister George Papandreou expressed the hope that the reference in the conclusion of the Helsinki EU summit meeting that a settlement to the Cyprus problem is not a precondition for its accession will have a positive effect on the proximity talks for a solution underway in New York.
He said the decision gives a new momentum to the stagnation in the past 25 years.
Speaking to reporters after meeting the UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser for Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto within the framework of the proximity talks, Mr Denktash said the chances or achieving an overall settlement in Cyprus will only increase if the reality of the existence of two people and two sovereign states on the island is taken into account.
He claimed the "erroneous position taken by the EU on the issue of Cyprus will necessitate the furtherance of our existing ties and relationship with our motherland and guarantor, Turkey".
An official press release said that given the island's excellent traditional relations with Syria and its excellent relations with Israel, Cyprus is offering to host the negotiations between the two friendly neighbourly countries.
He succeeds Major-General Evergisto Arturo de Vergara of Argentina, who relinquishes his post on 15 December 1999.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/