Foreign Minister outlines Cyprus question aspects discussed with EU
Nicosia, Nov 21 (CNA) -- Foreign Minister George Iacovou has outlined five aspects of the Cyprus question that Nicosia puts forward to its European Union partners in connection with Ankara's obligations, as these emanate from the Copenhagen criteria Turkey needs to meet.
He has stressed that the Greek Cypriot side does not object to a fresh process leading to an agreed solution, following negotiations on the basis of a UN plan (the Annan plan), and expressed the view that there will be some reference to future procedures with regard a political settlement in Cyprus, at next month's European Union summit.
''December 17, when EU leaders will decide whether to give Turkey a date for the start of accession negotiations, is a very important landmark date for us,'' he said, adding that nobody gets exactly what it seeks to secure within the Union and nobody has imposed on him things he cannot accept.
Speaking at Larnaca airport on his way to Brussels to participate in a General Affairs Council meeting, he said the five aspects relate to the need for Ankara to recognize the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member state, the Turkish policy of vetoing Cyprus' participation in various international organizations, the need for the illegal Turkish settlers in occupied Cyprus to return to Turkey, the protection of Greek Cypriot property in northern Cyprus (occupied by Turkey since 1974) and the need to see the occupation troops withdraw from the island.
He explained that all these issues have already been raised at previous EU meetings.
Responding to questions on a possible veto from Cyprus to the start of Turkey's membership talks, he said this would be difficult and recalled the veto France exercised in 1964 to block Britain's entry into the EU as the only such example in the EU's long history.
''However, it does look absurd for Turkey to recognize Cyprus' positive vote and the day after not to recognize the Republic of Cyprus,'' the minister added.
He said Turkey has in the recent past exercised its right of veto on 12 occasions to halt Cyprus' moves and participation in international fora.
On the issue of repatriating Turkish settlers, now in the northern occupied areas of the island, Iacovou noted that if Europe wishes to curtail the influx of Turkish migrants into the EU, then it will have to look at the problem of Turkish settlers in Cyprus too.