EU leaders to urge Turkish side to work for Cyprus solution
by Themis Themistocleous--
Porto Carras, Jun 19 (CNA) -- Leaders of the 15 member states of the European Union and of the 10 acceding countries meeting in Chalkidiki, Greece, today through to Saturday are expected to call for an early resumption of Cyprus talks on the basis of proposals by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and to urge Turkey and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to strongly support his efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.
Annan saw his efforts reach an impasse in The Hague in March, when Denktash refused to put the UN set of proposals to separate referenda among the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities. On April 16, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos was among the ten leaders to sign in Athens an accession treaty with the European Union.
Annan has demanded a clear commitment from the two sides before reengaging in peace efforts. President Papadopoulos has said he is ready to resume negotiations on the Annan plan without preconditions, while Denktash has stated that the UN plan is ''not on my table.''
The 25 European heads of state or government participating in the Chalkidiki meeting are to commit the EU ''to further contribute towards a just, viable and functional settlement'' in Cyprus.
This commitment, laid out in the draft conclusions of the EU summit opening this evening, is seen by Greek sources as ''added value'' to the role of the Union, which so far has restricted its contribution to a Cyprus settlement to support for UN initiatives.
The draft conclusions further state that the accession of Cyprus to the EU on May 1, 2004, is already creating favourable conditions for the two communities on the island to reach a comprehensive settlement.
''To this end, the Union strongly supports the continuation of the UN Secretary General's mission of good offices in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions including 1475/2003,'' the draft conclusions say. This resolution was approved unanimously after the breakdown of talks in The Hague.
The European leaders welcome the recent easing of restrictions in the contacts and communication between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, noting that this ''positive'' step has demonstrated that the two communities can live together in a reunited island within the EU.
At the same time, they underline that the recent development cannot be considered a substitute for a comprehensive settlement.
''The European Council, therefore, urges all parties concerned, and in particular Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership, to strongly support the UN Secretary General's efforts and in this context calls for an early resumption of the talks on the basis of his proposals,'' the draft conclusions state.
''The European Union is to further contribute towards a just, viable and functional settlement of the Cyprus problem, consistent with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.''
The European Council welcomes measures announced by the Commission in Brussels ''for promoting economic development in the northern part of Cyprus'' (in the areas occupied by Turkish troops since 1974) and looks forward to their implementation, the draft conclusions add.|
Denktash has said he will accept financial aid from the EU but has turned down plans for products from the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus to be exported to the EU via legitimate ports and airports of the Republic of Cyprus, insisting on shipment from ports in the north.
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY