Cyprus believes cooperation with Turkey in common interest
Limassol, Nov 19 (CNA) -- The Cypriot government's firm belief is that ''the common interest of the Turkish and Cypriot people calls for the peaceful relation and cooperation of the two countries based on the fundamental values and principles on which the EU is founded,'' Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said today.
The Spokesman was addressing a Seminar of the International Association of Young Lawyers, which took place in Limassol under the title ''Cyprus and the EU'' with the participation of 150 lawyers from EU countries, Turkey, the United States, Canada, and Africa.
Chrysostomides referred to Cyprus' history, the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island and the subsequent occupation of its northern third to date, the reasons why the Greek Cypriot community rejected a UN proposal for a Cyprus settlement in the April 24 referendum, and the accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the EU on May 1 this year.
''Everybody had wished that on 1st May 2004, a reunited island would be acceding to the Union. Most of the Greek Cypriots that had suffered from the division of their island for so long were aspiring to enjoy the benefits of joining the EU together with their Turkish Cypriot compatriots. They were disappointed. We all knew that accession to the Union should be for the benefit of both communities,'' he noted.
Referring to the proposed solution plan put forward by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Chrysostomides said that ''despite the hard work by all involved, this end product was judged to be inadequate and fell short of the minimum expectations for a settlement for the Greek Cypriots.''
''It incorporated all basic demands by Turkey, thus giving it an overall control over the island, both political and military. I should add at this point that the Plan, as it emerged, was not the product of negotiation nor did it constitute an agreed solution between the parties,'' he pointed out.
Referring to Ankara's EU bid, Chrysostomides said ''in principle Cyprus is in favour of Turkey's candidacy to join the EU.''
''A truly European Turkey will be a factor of stability in our region provided that Turkey at the same time recognises, understands, accepts and complies with its obligations towards the European Union and all its member states including Cyprus,'' he said.
He pointed out that ''Turkey till now persistently refuses'' to recognise the Republic of Cyprus, ''though it aspires to become a member of a Union where another 25 equally sovereign states already participate.''
''It is our firm belief that the common interest of the Turkish and Cypriot people calls for the peaceful relation and cooperation of the two countries based on the fundamental values and principles on which the EU is founded,'' he said.
Chrysostomides added that ''our hope for the future is a strong, stable, secure and prosperous Europe, able to play a leading role in the world, a Union that could shape international politics along the lines it pledges to be its foundations, democracy, rule of law, respect for human rights, social justice and social equality, a Union with a humane face, a Union that through the rich diversity of cultures and ideas, encourages the creation of a common European sense of belonging to a common and secure home.''
''This is the vision shared by us Cypriots, Turkish and Greek Cypriots alike,'' the Spokesman added.