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Foreign Minister: right to appeal against Turkey safeguarded
2003-05-23 13:34:24

Larnaca, May 23 (CNA) -- Cyprus Foreign Minister George Iacovou has said that Turkey cannot take away from Greek Cypriots the right to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights to claim their properties, in the areas of Cyprus under Turkish occupation since 1974.

He also said that given the unwillingness of the Turkish side to return to the negotiating table, at present there is no particular reason to press for the resumption of negotiations on the Cyprus question.

The minister was speaking on his way to Athens to meet his New Zealand counterpart and then fly to Crete to attend the Euro-Mediterranean Foreign Ministers meeting from 26-27 May.|

''The European Court has ruled in two different cases that Turkey through the presence of its troops exercises effective control in the areas of Cyprus it occupied and is responsible for what happens there,'' the Minister said, commenting on plans by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to pay compensation to Greek Cypriots property owners through ''special courts'' operating in occupied Cyprus.

He pointed out that the Court judgments described the Turkish Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus ''a local subordinate administration'' to Turkey and a non-recognised administration by international law.

''Turkey cannot through such moves to remove the right to individual appeal to the Court by Greek Cypriots, the legal owners of property in the occupied areas,'' Iacovou said.

Commenting on the prospects of resuming peace talks, he welcomed Thursday's remarks by Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis that there is no point in beginning a fresh round of talks unless the Turkish side changes its positions on Cyprus, which continues to back the creation of two states on the island and refuses to negotiate on the basis of a UN proposal.

He said that the Greek Cypriot side has repeatedly expressed its readiness to resume talks under the good offices mission of the UN Secretary General on the basis of Kofi Annan's peace plan.

The Crete meeting will assess EU enlargement in relation to the role of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership in reducing tensions following the war in Iraq and discuss the continuing uncertainty in the Middle East peace process.

The minister returns on Tuesday night.

CNA MM/GP/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
23/05/2003

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