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Volume 401: debated on Wednesday 19 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he plans to have with member states of the European Union on the role the Union will play in future negotiations regarding Cyprus. [102375]

Regrettably, it has not proven possible to secure a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus in time for a reunited island to sign the Treaty of Accession with the European Union on 16 April. As decided by the Copenhagen European Council, Cyprus will accede with the a cquis suspended in the north of the island. The Commission will, in consultation with the government of Cyprus, consider ways of promoting economic development of the northern part of Cyprus and bringing it closer to the Union. The UK and the EU remain committed tc efforts to achieve a comprehensive settlement within the framework of the UN Secretary-General's proposals of 26 February. However, as Mr. Annan made clear in his concluding statement in The Hague, an opportunity like the one so recently missed is unlikely to recur for some time.