Diamantopoulou briefs Turkish Cypriots on EU funding
Nicosia, May 22 (CNA) - Greek European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs Anna Diamantopoulou met this afternoon with Turkish Cypriot politicians and briefed them on the funding provided for the Turkish Cypriots in the event of a solution to the Cyprus problem, stressing at the same time that Cyprus must be represented in the EU by a single state with one voice.
Speaking after the meeting, which took place at the offices of the European Commission Delegation in Cyprus, the Turkish Cypriot politicians expressed satisfaction over the briefing they received and noted the benefits the Turkish Cypriot community will receive from the EU in case of a political settlement.|
Diamantopoulou said she was happy to receive the Turkish Cypriot politicians along with Head of the Delegation Adriaan Van der Meer ''for the first time''.
''There was an interesting exchange of views regarding the solution'' of the Cyprus problem, she said, adding that she briefed the Turkish Cypriot politicians on the fundamental principles of the EU, giving special emphasis to the fact that ''a country must be represented with one voice and be a single state''.
Diamantopoulou briefed them on the short-term and long-term EU and referred to the EU measures to be announced on June 3, the financial assistance of 206 million euros for 2004-2006 in case of a solution and the funding and strengthening of Cyprus in case of a solution from the structural funds for the period 2007-2012.
Leader of the Republican Turkish Party Mehmet Ali Talat said they discussed ''the concerns of the Turkish Cypriots, the opportunities which are gained by restricted free movement (to and from the occupied areas of the island) and also some substantial issues which relate to the solution and participation of Cyprus as a whole in the EU''.
Replying to questions, Talat said they discussed the free movement of goods and the funding from the EU in case of a Cyprus settlement before May 2004, which ''will help boost the Turkish Cypriot economy''.
Leader of the Reformist Progress Party Ertugrul Hasipoglu said the meeting with Diamantopoulou was ''useful'' and expressed hope that by next month there will be free movement of Turkish Cypriot goods.
Huseyin Angolemli, leader of the Communal Liberation Party, said ''we told her that before May 1st next year (when Cyprus joins the EU) a solution is very important'' and that, apart from the UN, ''the EU must have a duty for a solution'' of the Cyprus problem.
''The EU must work on the basis of the Annan plan in order to reach a comprehensive settlement. The measures to be announced next month by the EU will do something, especially on trade. All these things are not a solution but will help to reach a solution'', he said, speaking in Turkish through an interpreter.
Angolemli added that ''it is a reality that the EU now is working for Cyprus and our aim is at the end of the day to see a reunified Cyprus member of the EU.''
Earlier this afternoon, Diamantopoulou met with leaders of Greek Cypriot political parties.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The most recent talks to reach a comprehensive settlement based on a proposal submitted by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan collapsed at The Hague, due to the stance of the Turkish side.
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY