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Home >> World
UPDATED: 08:38, September 22, 2005
Cyprus satisfied with EU statement on Turkey
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The Cypriot government on Wednesday expressed satisfaction with an agreement reached in Brussels on the content of the EU counterstatement to the Turkish unilateral declaration of non-recognition of the Republic of Cyprus.

Government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said the importance of the counterstatement must not be underestimated.

Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos also expressed satisfaction late Tuesday evening with the counterstatement, which will pave the way for the start of accession talks with Ankara on Oct. 3.

Speaking to reporters at Larnaca Airport upon his return from New York, where he addressed the UN General Assembly, Papadopoulos said that main aims of Cyprus concerning the counterstatement have been fulfilled.

The agreement between EU member Cyprus, which insists that Turkey recognize its government ahead of the membership talks, and Britain, the current EU presidency, was tabled early on Wednesday at a meeting of the 25 EU ambassadors.

"It seems that today we reached a satisfactory conclusion," Chrysostomides told the press.

Underlining the importance of the counterstatement, the spokesman said that this is a unanimous, political EU decision, taken by all 25 member states and has equal importance as the other decisions of the European Councils.

"After a hard, composed and painful political and diplomatic task it seems that we have a conclusion today in Brussels, in a satisfying way, both as regards the counterstatement to Turkey's declaration, when it signed the adjustment protocol of the Ankara Agreement, and the negotiating framework," he added.

The Cyprus government has spent most of the past month quarreling with EU partners on how to respond to Turkey's failure to accord it diplomatic recognition. A disagreement in the wording of the document had prompted a warning from Nicosia last week that it would stall the start of deliberations on a "road map" for Turkey's talks.

In July, Ankara angered the republic by refusing to open its ports to Cypriot vessels, which costs dearly the economy of Cyprus, despite extending a customs union deal with the EU to all new member states, including Cyprus.

At the same time, Turkey issued a declaration saying its signature of the customs union did not mean it recognized the republic.

Turkey insists it recognize Cyprus only after a broad international agreement, possibly sponsored by the United Nations, to end the division of the island.

The final draft of the bloc's counter-declaration satisfied Nicosia on its demand that the recognition does not come about with Turkey's accession to EU, which could take as long as a decade, but is tied to its accession course.

The document said that recognition of all member states is a necessary component of the accession process.

Chrysostomides said that is has been secured that Turkey's statement does not give Ankara the right not to fully implement the customs union protocol for Cyprus, and relevant chapters will not open if there is no full implementation and compliance by Turkey, which will have repercussions on the negotiating process.

Local observers say differences between Cyprus and Turkey are enormous and pervasive. Ankara has accused the EU of being "rude" to Turkey and declared it will turn its back to the EU if "new terms" are imposed.

Cyprus, which gained independence from Britain in 1960, has been split into Greek Cypriot south and Turkish Cypriot north since 1974 when Turkey sent troops to take control of its northern third in response to a Greek-inspired coup.

Efforts by the international community to reunite the island have so far failed, and the south Cyprus became a EU member in May, 2004, leaving the northern Cyprus, which is only recognized by Turkey, outside the bloc.

Source: Xinhua

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