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Cyprus FM tells Turkey: "Help us to help you..."
2004-11-10 09:35:33

By Kyriakos Tsioupras

London, Nov 10 (CNA) -- ''Help us to help you'' is the message of Nicosia to Ankara as regards the Turkish European perspective, Cyprus Foreign Minister George Iacovou has stated.

Addressing last night a dinner hosted here by the Cypriot Brotherhood, on the occasion of Cyprus' Independence Anniversary, attended by British MPs and members of the House of Lords, the Cypriot Foreign Minister said ''our attention is now focused on next month's examination of the Turkish application'' to start membership negotiations with the European Union.

Referring to Turkey's accession talks he noted ''we are not bringing in any parameters of the Cyprus problem, during the talks, but we are bringing in parameters, which relate directly to the Copenhagen Criteria, on those we will insist''.

''What we are saying to Turkey is 'help us to help you'. Do not make difficulties for us so that we wouldn't make difficulties for you'', Iacovou stressed.

He added ''it is in the interest of the EU that these issues must be debated. The commitment of negotiations between Turkey and the EU will be an important event for the Union and it will change completely the political environment in Cyprus''.

This environment, he added, is already changing, noting that since April 2003 five million visits took place across the dividing line in Cyprus.

The FM further said he does not share the pessimism of those who say that it will take at least ten years, which is approximately ''what is estimated to be the time span which Turkey will require before its own accession to the EU for any development on the Cyprus problem''.

Concluding he expressed his conviction that ''developments will be much earlier than most people suggest''.

Cyprus, which joined the EU as a full member in May this year, has been divided since 1974 wheh Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

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