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EU regrets so-called "customs union" agreement
2003-08-10 00:43:38

Nicosia, Aug 9 (CNA) - The European Union has expressed regret over a so-called "framework agreement for a customs union" Turkey, a candidate country, signed Friday with the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime in Turkish occupied Cyprus.

''We believe that we should have been consulted before this agreement was signed,'' European Commission spokesman Eric Mamer has told Reuters.

''We will clearly be checking it with regard to all the association and customs union agreements that we have with Turkey,'' he added.|

Turkey already has a customs union agreement with the EU and is aspiring to begin accession negotiations in 2005.

Cyprus will join the Union as a full member in May next year.

Turkish Deputy prime minister Abdullah Sener claimed that the agreement would ensure the integration of the economy in occupied Cyprus with that of the EU and the international community.

Under the agreement, Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots would reduce port and airport taxes to a bare minimum. Turkey would also raise credits to bolster infrastructure and foreign investment, Turkish state-run Anatolian news agency reported.

Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has called for further economic integration with Turkey since U.N.-backed peace talks with Greek Cypriots collapsed in March after he refused to put a UN peace proposal to a referendum.

CNA/NMA/KN/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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