Cypriot House Speaker calls on Turkey to fulfill criteria to start EU talks
By Maria Fili
Yerevan, Oct 19 (CNA) – Turkey should fulfill specific criteria which the European Union puts forward in order to begin accession negotiations, said here Tuesday House President Demetris Christofias, during a press conference with his Armenian counterpart Arthur Baghdasaryan.
One of the criteria, he added, is the recognition by Turkey of all EU member states, including Cyprus, and the extension of its EU customs union to Cyprus as well. The House Speaker expressed the view that one of the “conditions should also be the recognition by Turkey of the Armenian genocide”.
Christofias is on a three-day official visit to Armenia, heading a parliamentary delegation, at the invitation of Armenia's National Assembly Baghdasaryan.
Before the press conference, Christofias and Baghdasaryan signed a cooperation protocol. Christofias said relations between Cyprus and Armenia have entered a new stage and expressed hope that Cyprus will help promote Armenia’s European aspirations.
Baghdasaryan wondered how Turkey can maintain its borders with Armenia closed and hope to become a member of the EU, prohibiting commerce between the two countries as well as maintaining the Cyprus problem.
He said Cyprus and Armenia have common goals in international organisations. Baghdasaryan also said that great progress has been achieved in the two countries’ parliamentary relations.
Referring to his meeting with Armenian President Robert Kocharyan, the Cypriot House Speaker said the Armenian President expressed good will and political determination for strategic cooperation, adding that Kocharyan is aware of Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos’ positive views on the issue.
“Cyprus will try to become a bridge to promote relations between friendly states which border the EU”, Christofias added.
He said relations between Cyprus and Armenia have great potential to develop economic and cultural ties further and thanked the Armenian National Assembly for the very good cooperation, especially at the Council of Europe.
Referring to Cyprus’s policy towards Turkey after the April referendum when Greek Cypriots rejected a UN solution plan for a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem, Christofias said it was not a rejection of a Cyprus solution but that of the specific plan.
He said the objective is to end the Turkish occupation and secure the country’s reunification, as well as to create a functional state.
“Between now and December, when the EU will decide whether or not to begin accession talks with Turkey, we will work to ensure that these criteria become criteria for the start of accession negotiations with the EU”, Christofias added.
Responding to questions, Christofias said that the Nagorno Karabach dispute should be resolved peacefully, stressing that his impression is that Armenia shares this view. “The solution should respect the human rights of the people of Karabach and the Armenian people and the rights of peoples’ in the region”.
Christofias, who wraps up his visit to Armenia later this evening, visited earlier in the day the Museum of the Catholicosate and met with Catholicos of all Armenians Geregin II.
Signing the visitors' book at the monument for the victims of the Armenian genocide, he said ''we were shocked at the exhibits which depict the genocide''.