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19 February, 1998
Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday held talks with Belgian Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene and the Secretary General of the Western European Union (WEU), Jose Cutilheiro, during the second day of his visit here.
Sources close to the main opposition leader reported that Mr. Karamanlis and Mr. Dehaene had discussions on European Union issues, such as Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), boosting employment, fiscal prospects, as well as Cyprus' membership to the EU and Greece's relations with Turkey.
Mr. Dehaene was reported to have told Mr. Karamanlis of his view that Turkey should participate in the European Conference in London on March 12, although on the condition that it respected the basic principles contained in the Luxembourg summit communique.
"There is still some likelihood that Turkish intransigence will be curbed," he was quoted as saying.
The EU has asked Turkey to improve its human rights record, contribute to efforts to reach a settlement of the Cyprus problem and sort out its differences with Greece.
The Belgian premier welcomed the fact that Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides has asked the Turkish Cypriots to participate in the EU accession talks, describing this move as "positive".
He added that the negotiations would go ahead on schedule, regardless of whether the Turkish Cypriots decided to participate.
During their meeting, both men expressed the hope that the development would pave the way for a settlement of the Cyprus problem.
In brief statements to the press after the meeting, Mr. Karamanlis said they had reaffirmed their faith in the implementation of EMU, but noted that Greece was the only member-state which, despite its willingness, would not be in the first group of countries that would participate in the euro, "a fact which shows the mistakes and omissions made over a number of years, but also the need for deep structural changes in the Greek economy".
With Mr. Cutilheiro, Mr. Karamanlis held extensive talks on relations between the WEU and NATO.
Today, he will meet European Commission President Jacques Santer, a number of EU Commissioners, and NATO Secretary General Javier Solana.
Source: Athens News Agency