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Cypriots have 'historic' chance to join EU as one

Cypriots have 'historic' chance to join European Union as one, Annan says ahead of talks

  • Click here to view video of Annan’s press conference
  • The people of Cyprus have a historic opportunity to unify their country and enter the European Union together, garnering great economic and social benefits, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today on the eve of talks between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders in New York.

    "A unified Cyprus entering the European Union will really help reduce tensions in the Aegean region, it will improve relations all around in the region and it would also facilitate Turkey's entry into Europe," the Secretary-General told reporters upon arrival at UN Headquarters.

    "It's a win-win situation all around, and I hope the people of Cyprus will press their leaders not to miss this opportunity," he added.

    Last week, the Secretary-General wrote to the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders inviting them to New York to resume negotiations on the basis of his settlement plan with an eye towards submitting a completed text to separate referenda in April, in time for a reunited Cyprus to accede to the European Union on 1 May along with nine other countries.

    The Secretary-General, who is scheduled to brief the Security Council on the talks today, noted that time was running short as negotiations on his plan should conclude by the end of March. "I have made proposals to them for us to discuss when they come here, because quite frankly, as I've said, we don't have much time if we are going to meet the deadline of 1 May," he said.

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