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23 January, 2002
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in a resolution on Tuesday calls on the leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities to contribute in finding a formula which will allow the whole of the population of Cyprus to benefit from accession to the European Union and not fence them-selves behind some "terminology" which would obstruct a future political solution.
The majority of the Parliamentary Assembly approved the re-solution submitted by Hungarian deputy Andras Barsony on the situation in Cyprus.
The resolution which was approved by 93 votes in favor, four against and two abstentions, stresses that the conflict in Cyprus remains one of the most sensitive and most difficult problems for solution in Europe.
"There is increased pressure for the finding of a political solution to the conflict as the time is approaching for Cyprus' accession to the European Union," the Parliamentary Assembly's decision notes.
At the same time it stresses that "the political agreement between the two sides for the island's future is possible and desirable before Cyprus' accession to the European Union."
"We congratulate (Cyprus) President (Glafcos) Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader (Rauf) Denktash for their direct talks, in the presence of the U.N. Secretary-General's special adviser, and for their decision to continue the negotiations until a political solution is found," the decision said.
For the improvement of the dialogue between the two communities, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe will henceforth call on representatives of the two sides to attend committees where issues of interest to them are discussed.
On the political situation in the Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus, the Barsony report noted that "it is becoming even more uncertain" and the Turkish Cypriot community is becoming all the more isolated from the rest of the world and ignored by the international community.
The Council of Europe also calls on the Turkish Cypriot leader-ship to adopt a more positive stance towards the European Union and brief the Turkish Cypriot population regarding the benefits of EU accession.
The decision also calls on the guarantor powers - Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom - to play a constructive role so as to ensure that the efforts by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan will lead to positive results in the coming months.
In an indirect but clear reference to Turkey, the Council requests respect of all the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, which concern Cyprus.
It is indicative that the Parliamentary Assembly rejected a major amendment proposed by the Turkish deputies for the lifting of the embargo on the Turkish Cypriot pseudo-state.
In the discussion, the head of the Greek parliamentary representation, PASOK deputy Theodoros Pangalos, expressed his full support to the Barsony report and said that what is important at present is Cyprus' accession to the European Union. He added that "if the developments in Cyprus continue in a positive direction, as we hope, Turkey will also be obliged to approach more closely the European Union and its principles."
On her part, New Democracy (ND) party deputy Dora Bakoyianni said that "the point that makes the difference is that the European Union has decided to accept Cyprus as its member without the political problem having been solved on the island and this has obliged Turkey to change its stance."
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe also approved on Tuesday night an amendment, which calls on the European Union to create a mechanism for the export of products from the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus to EU member-countries.
The amendment, submitted by eight European deputies, calls on the EU as a contribution "to the building of confidence-building measures, to create, in cooperation with the competent Chamber of Commerce in the northern part of Cyprus, and if possible with the Chamber of Commerce in the southern part of Cyprus, a mechanism through which products and goods from the northern part of Cyprus will be able to be exported to the European Union without them being obstructed by the political differences between the two entities."
Source: Athens News Agency