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Home >> World
UPDATED: 08:40, September 08, 2005
EU fails to agree on Cyprus counter declaration
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European Union (EU) member states failed on Wednesday to agree on a counter declaration on Turkey's refusal to recognize Cyprus.

The EU nations met on Wednesday with a goal to reaching an agreement, meant to pave the way for entry talks with Turkey set on Oct. 3.

Diplomats close to the meeting between EU ambassadors said the talks were "very tough". The EU member states said they would hold more talks to try and resolve the issue.

With the deadline for the opening of accession talks with Ankara on Oct. 3 fast approaching, London is striving for consensus on the "counter declaration" on Cyprus as soon as possible.

The "counter declaration" is supposed to represent the EU's answer to Turkey's unilateral declaration on July 29.

The Turkish declaration stated that its signature to extend a customs agreement with the EU to all new member states - including Cyprus - did not mean recognition of the Mediterranean island state.

The envisioned EU declaration seeks to accommodate Cypriot, Greek and French claims that Turkey is unfit to negotiate with the bloc, if it does not recognize all 25 of its members.

It was reported that there are still "big differences" between member states over the toughness of the text.

France and Cyprus demand an explicit mentioning of the word " recognition" in the text, and on top of this the Cypriots want to see a roadmap spelling out that Ankara will over time take concrete steps towards recognizing the island.

On Tuesday, the British presidency had issued a draft version of the declaration that was more conciliatory towards Ankara, which was unacceptable to the Cypriots.

It led to Cypriot foreign minister George Iacovou to state, according to Cyprus News Agency, "I do not foresee that we will agree today. I cannot even foresee a counter statement this week."

France along with Austria, Greece and Cyprus are pressing for full implementation by Ankara of the customs agreement it signed with the enlarged EU. This means that Turkey is obliged to stop banning Cypriot ships and planes from its territory.

The group of countries wishes to see the issue tied as a condition to the opening of accession talks with Ankara.

However, EU current presidency Britain intends to start the accession talks with Ankara on due time.

Source: Xinhua

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