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17 May, 1999
Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis on Saturday called on Turkish Cypriots to accept an invitation from the Cyprus government to participate in accession talks with the European Union (EU).
Mr. Kranidiotis was speaking at a business meeting for Greek and Greek Cypriot business persons, organized here on Saturday by the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the largest-selling daily newspaper "Fileleftheros".
The Greek official stressed the need for the resumption of a dialogue to settle the Cyprus problem and underlined that the US has an important role to play for a solution to be reached.
Mr. Kranidiotis also referred to the Kosovo crisis and the need for a peaceful settlement to the problem. "UN resolutions remain the only legal framework for a settlement to the Cyprus question," he said, and noted that the Greek Cypriot side "has made it clear it is ready to respond positively to any serious effort for the resumption of talks."
Welcoming efforts by the organization of the seven most developed countries plus Russia (G8) to this end, he said the dialogue must be based on UN resolutions stipulating the establishment of a federal state, with one sovereignty and international personality.
"In efforts for a just solution we recognize that the role of the US is especially important," Mr. Kranidiotis said, adding "we have assurances that they wish to help". The Greek official said the US must not only express verbal support but must also act and called on Washington to "exert pressure on Ankara and help UN efforts".
Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, backed by Ankara, is refusing to participate in peace talks unless the illegal regime unilaterally declared in the areas of Cyprus occupied by Turkey since 1974 is recognized.
Mr. Denktash also proposed the establishment of a "confederation of two states", a demand rejected by the UN, the Cyprus government, Greece and all other key players in the peace effort as it is contrary to UN resolutions.
Referring to Cyprus' bid to join the EU, Mr. Kranidiotis said the Republic is now trying to enforce the acquis communautaire in the areas under its control and described the accession course, which got underway last year as a way to modernize the economy and society.
Source: Athens News Agency