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Cyprus President: Turkey must comply with its obligations towards EU and Cyprus
2004-11-12 17:01:41

Nicosia, Nov 12 (CNA) -- The government of Cyprus in principle supports Turkey's candidacy to join the European Union, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos said here today, adding that Turkey should at the same time recognise, understand, accept and comply with its obligations towards the European Union and all its member states, including Cyprus.

''Part of these obligations is the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus, the withdrawal of the occupation troops and settlers, the end of the organised new wave of settlers, avoiding hostile actions against Cyprus, like the obstruction of the participation of the Republic in international organisations and international treaties'', President Papadopoulos said tonight.

He was addressing a dinner he gave in honour of Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, who is on the island for a two-day visit.

Referring to the Cyprus problem, he said that Cyprus is going through a period, ''pregnant with developments, which if handled correctly, with the people of Cyprus in a state of unity and the precious support and contribution of Greece, may open the way to a dignified if painful compromise and to a viable solution of the Cyprus problem''.

President Papadopoulos underlined that nobody wants the solution of the Cyprus Problem more than the Cypriots do and added, ''nobody can claim to be more disappointed than we because the Cyprus problem has not been solved''.

''That is why no Greek Cypriot can be convinced that those who, claiming to aim at reunification act for the so called termination of the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community, all the while consolidating division and estrangement between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots'', he said.

The Cyprus President conveyed to Greek Prime Minister, the Greek government and the people of Greece, ''our thanks and gratitude for the unwavering, invaluable and proven support and solidarity that the Government and the people of Greece has been giving us selflessly at dangerous and difficult times for the people of Cyprus''.

Referring to the December European Council that will take a decision as to whether the EU should set a date for opening accession negotiations with Turkey, Papadopoulos said ''in principle we are in favour of Turkey’s candidacy to join the European Union, because we are convinced that a truly European Turkey will be a factor of stability in our region and a secure link between Europe and the Middle East, provided that Turkey at the same time will recognise, understand, accept and comply with its obligations towards the European Union and all its member states, including Cyprus''.

''We do not underestimate, on the contrary we recognise the decisive importance of the time frame for the commencement of accession negotiations between Turkey and the European Union, but mainly and more importantly the process of accession negotiations itself'', the Cyprus President underlined.

He added ''this is why, in principle we support a decision to be taken by the European Council on December 17 for the start of accession negotiations with Turkey. However, we are entitled to demand of Turkey to show both in word and deed by December 17 and also after that date that it realises and accepts that the European Union consists of 25 members and that the positive vote of every one of these 25 states is required at each stage of the process''.

''Turkey’s claim that we should in essence accept that we exist as Republic of Cyprus exclusively and only at the time when our positive vote is required to take the decision to start accession negotiations and at every follow-up decision required for the smooth conduct of negotiations, whereas at all other times we shall pass into nothingness, lacks any moral foundation'', he noted.

The Cypriot President added ''I wish to disclose something- which you, Prime Minister know – and that is that we have sent a message to the government of our neighbouring country that we are ready for dialogue to explain our positions and to say how we see the relations between Cyprus and Turkey developing before and after December 17 until Turkey’s accession to the European Union, and how we see a common peaceful future as members of the Union''.

''Now it is up to Turkey to accept this invitation and challenge'', President Papadopoulos said.

Referring to the Cyprus problem, he said that the Greek Cypriot side seeks and aspires to a solution which would restore and safeguard the human rights of all Cypriots without discrimination, a solution of a state which would embody democracy and the rule of law, which are basic principles for the functioning of every contemporary state, in a bizonal, bicommunal federation of two constituent states within the framework and the philosophy of the Annan plan.

The Annan plan, he added, should be improved through ''either its amendment of the removal of terms and provisions which make doubtful its functionality and viability and which lead to the division of the people, society, the economy and the institutions instead of promoting their reunification and unity''.

''We want to have the possibility to become a constructive partner in the EU and not a nuisance. We desire and seek a solution of a state unfettered without anachronistic dependencies on foreign powers, without Turkish troops and the tools of war on our land and without the insecurity for today and uncertainty for tomorrow that such dependencies create'', he said.

Referring to the Annan plan, which was rejected by the Greek Cypriots at the April referendum, he said that the verdict of the people has to be respected by all ''so that we can face and overcome the difficulties which have inevitably arisen and which so far we have faced successfully''.

''No one who respects the verdict of the people is allowed to invoke these difficulties in order to justify supporting a yes vote. Because the difficulties of a yes vote would have been the same or worse only then it would not be possible either to face or to reverse them'', the Cyprus President noted.

He underlined that ''we do not regret having said “no” to a bad solution but we are sad that we did not have before us, as Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, a good solution like the one I have described and which we could have and still can agree to and which would bring salvation to our people''.

''The Cassandras who predicted political disasters that would befall Greek Cypriots as a result of the stand they took at the referendum, are daily proven wrong and our people are following their path, keeping intact their honour and dignity and the expectation of an honourable compromise. This despite foreign exhortations, pressure, threats and blackmail'', he added.

Referring to the Turkish Cypriots, President Papadopoulos said the Cyprus government encourages the development of economic relations between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and has already submitted to the EU and is currently discussing proposals in this direction.

''The suspension of the acquis communautaire in the occupied areas and the negative stand of the occupation regime have not succeeded in obstructing economic dealings between Greek and Turkish Cypriots which have timidly started nor the employment of a big number of Turkish Cypriots in the free areas, which has given a boost to the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community, much more than any promised foreign economic assistance could do'', he noted.

President Papadopoulos reassured that the government of Cyprus would continue to oppose decisively the partitionist and divisive policies and actions wherever they may come from.

''It is our obligation, our duty and our right'', the Cypriot President concluded.

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