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Media Watch 2007

27 April 2007
Source: Cyprus Weekly
Author: Emilia Christofi
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Weekly of Nicosia on 27 April 2007.
Abolish Cyprus injustice
"THE prevailing unjust situation in Cyprus has to be abolished and a settlement must be based on principles, the President of Slovenia, the current holder of the rotating EU presidency, said yesterday."

"Slovenian leader hopes for window of opportunity

THE prevailing unjust situation in Cyprus has to be abolished and a settlement must be based on principles, the President of Slovenia, the current holder of the rotating EU presidency, said yesterday.

"If there is a window of opportunity during the Slovenian presidency, we should work on it to move things forward. That is why we support a just settlement based on principle for this problem,'' President Janez Drnovsek said during a joint press conference with visiting President Tassos Papadopoulos.

He said that during his talks with the Cypriot leader "we gave special attention to the Cyprus issue, which continues to be unresolved and this is a problem both for Cyprus and the EU, which would want the issue to be resolved as soon as possible.

"A just situation needs to be developed and prepared and the injustices that have happened have to be abolished. This is the only way to reach a stable solution that will be acceptable for the people of Cyprus."

He described the problem as difficult and at the same time regretted the fact that the international community "has been following for a long time, unfortunately without success."

"We perfectly agree with the position of Cyprus and the President, who is trying to achieve a just solution after long years of occupation of part of the island.

"We would all like to see Cyprus reunified as soon as possible and the situation normalised, however it is difficult. Today's situation, the division, was caused by a violent act a couple of decades ago, and that is why we should not accept it as something which goes without saying...a just situation needs to be developed and prepared and the injustices that have happened have to be abolished. This is the only way to reach a stable solution that will be acceptable for the people of Cyprus."

President Papadopoulos thanked Slovenia for its position on Cyprus and congratulated it for its achievements, being the first EU member state following its accession in 2004 to adopt the euro.
President Drnovsek said: "Cyprus and Slovenia share very close and friendly links, especially through the process of joining the EU and common rapprochement," noting the two are "trying to continue these relations."

He said they also discussed economic links between the two countries, noting his country would "like to exploit and expand the possibilities that are there" in Cyprus.

They also discussed other topics, such as the situation in south-eastern Europe, the EU constitution and Turkey's prospects for joining the union.

"We support the orientation and progress of Turkey to the EU, on one important condition, provided that Turkey will fulfil all its obligations towards the EU and complies with the conditions the EU has set out for every other applicant state," President Papadopoulos said.

The President added that Cyprus was "very keen to see a new round of (reunification) negotiations and I refer to my meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat in the presence of Imbrahim Gambari, the UN Undersecretary General, achieved just that. The framework for a new round of talks should start as soon as possible. However this was not possible because of the Turkish Cypriot side."

He said the five permanent members of the Security Council have urged the Turkish Cypriot side to proceed with the process.Asked about his country's experience from adopting the Euro, the Slovenian President said that "Slovenia accepted the Euro very well, it was a normality. It was just money we changed."

Noting that this is a technicality that was manageable, Drnovsek said that fears that the euro would bring increased prices were not justified "and I hope the same will happen in Cyprus."

Commenting on the recent statements by the German Foreign Minister that other criteria will have to be considered before Cyprus adopts the euro next year, President Papadopoulos said that Cyprus received assurances by the chairman of the German Central Bank that the only criteria required will be economic and nothing else.

He also said that the German Embassy in Cyprus issued a statement "explaining its position so I hope this will be the case for Cyprus and will not open up the box of Pandora and allow other kinds of considerations to be injected into countries' obligations to adopt the Euro.""