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Simitis: no European prospect for Turkey without Cyprus solution
2003-03-13 16:40:04

Nicosia, Mar 13 (CNA) ? The Cyprus problem remains open and without its solution there can be no European prospect for Turkey, Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis underlined in Athens Thursday during the cabinet meeting.

Government Spokesman Christos Protopapas conveyed to reporters that Simitis referred to the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's initiative, stressing "that this constructive intervention, which was the most significant presented in the last years, unfortunately did not produce results", Athens News Agency said.

"The responsibility lies with the protracting policy of the Turkish Cypriot side which, assisted by the fact that Ankara was busy with Iraq, caused a deadlock", the Prime Minister added.|

Simitis pointed out that the Turkish leadership did not show the will to move away from its unyielding positions and that the failure of The Hague talks has consequences for Turkey, ''as it was proved by the reaction of the European Commission and the foreign ministries of third countries".

''Cyprus' accession (to the EU) will take place without a problem", said the Prime Minister because "Greece and Cyprus have been convincing throughout the negotiations and the accuracy of our choices has been confirmed ".

Simitis pointed out that the island's EU prospect leaves open the dynamic for a Cyprus settlement, adding that if Turkish Cypriot leader "Rauf Denktash and some people in Ankara believe that the fait accompli will become legal, are wrong. Time is working in favour of justice and in favour of a solution, something which is being confirmed by the demonstrations in the occupied areas", Simitis was quoted as saying.

The Prime Minister underlined that Greece believes with the Cyprus problem pending, "it will be a hub for a possible crisis in the eastern Mediterranean?.

For this reason, he said, "the Cyprus problem is the first issue of our external policy. The soonest Turkey realises to which direction history is proceeding, the better it is for the region", he added.

Simitis also congratulated the Cypriot leadership for its fine cooperation and right choices.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island's territory.

UN efforts to secure a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, based on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's third plan, came to an abrupt halt on Tuesday when Denktash said he was not prepared to agree to a referendum on the UN plan and raised fundamental objections to basic points in it.


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