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Unacceptable to grant Turkey a date without Cyprus recognition, EU official says
2004-11-18 10:14:10

By Kyriacos Tsioupras

London, Nov 18 (CNA) -- With the fixing of the date for starting accession talks between Turkey and the EU, Ankara will recognise the Cyprus Republic, a high rank EU official has said.

Giving oral evidence before Britain's House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee on Wednesday, Pierre Mirel, Director of the Enlargement Department of the European Union, said: ''? can not but feel that the Council can not accept a partner which does not extend its Customs Union to include the Cyprus Republic''.

He noted that that Cyprus is one of the 25 EU members – states which will be giving its vote and it will not do so without official recognition of the Cyprus Republic by Turkey.

Responding to a question whether the issue of the Turkish occupation forces will also be raised, Mirel said that it could also be discussed, adding that Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos could propose a timetable for the withdrawal of the forces.

Asked to comment on the idea of replacing the Turkish forces with other forces, he said this issue is outside the competence of the Commission.

Mirel expressed his confidence that if a date for accession negotiations is fixed the whole climate within the EU will change affecting the Cyprus issue too.

The EU official said that the Regulation on Financial Aid for the Turkish Cypriots has been agreed upon but the Dutch Presidency decided to link it with the Regulation on Direct Trade. He added that the Regulation on Trade will take two-three months to resolve.

Responding to a question whether the feeling within the Commission is that they "were cheated" by the Greek Cypriots over the April 2004 referendum on a Cyprus solution, Mirel said that "there was extreme disappointment and frustration".

He added that the impression was that with the arrangement that the solution of the Cyprus problem was not a precondition of Cyprus’ accession to the EU and with Turkey becoming a candidate, the Greek Cypriot leadership would work for a positive response.

''We felt they did not make enough effort'', Mirel said, adding that the main effort was needed in order to ensure that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots would support the Annan Plan whereas the Greek Cypriots were expected to give a positive answer.

Asked whether Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos was against the Annan Plan as a whole, Mirel answered ''I would leave that to history''.

Asked whether it was true that EU Commissioner for Enlargement Gunter Verheugen sought access to the Cypriot mass media, Miler said that he did it in the same way as he did for the media of the other nine candidate countries.

Asked whether Verheugen got a negative answer, Miler replied ''he (Verheugen) did not get an answer''.

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