Written Answers. - EU Accession Negotiations.

Dick Spring

Question:

50 Mr. Spring asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the prospects for a joint negotiation team representing Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot interests participating in the Cyprus accession negotiations with the EU. [8193/98]

Gay Mitchell

Question:

83 Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs whether viable negotiations on Cypriot accession to the EU can be held in view of the fact that no progress has been made in resolving the dispute on the island and the two communities on the island should be represented on the Cypriot negotiating teams. [8362/98]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 50 and 83 together.

At the Luxembourg European Council, the Heads of State and Government of the European Union requested that the willingness of the Government of Cyprus to include representatives of the Turkish Cypriot community in the accession negotiating delegation be acted upon. The view of the European Council was that accession of Cyprus to the EU should benefit all communities, including the Turkish Cypriot community and help bring about civil peace and reconciliation on the island. Ireland fully shares the Union's objective in this regard, which remains a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation on the basis of a comprehensive political settlement in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions. Progress towards accession and towards a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem will, in our view, naturally reinforce each other, and a political settlement would allow the provisions of the Accession Treaty to be implemented throughout the island.

The Government of Cyprus has offered to include Turkish Cypriot representatives in its accession negotiating delegation. The European Union has welcomed this offer, and Ireland shares the view that it is important to associate the Turkish Cypriot community with the accession process. However, the Turkish Cypriot community has so far declined to take up the offer extended by the Government of Cyprus. The Presidency and the Commission is continuing to pursue contacts with the Government of Cyprus and the leadership of the Turkish Cypriot community, with a view to finding a basis for the participation of the Turkish Cypriot community in the accession negotiations.