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Cypriot Minister cautious over EU Summit draft conclusions
2004-11-30 13:39:16

Nicosia, Nov 30 (CNA) -- Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs George Iacovou expressed reservations today over the draft conclusions of the December 17 European Council, during which the European leaders will decide whether or not to grant Turkey a date to commence accession negotiations with the EU.

The draft, which was submitted yesterday to the EU permanent representatives, among others provides for the de facto recognition of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey.

''The presidency tried to combine the various positions. However, I believe that this is the first of many drafts to be submitted. I expect the draft will be improved,'' Iacovou, who is in The Hague for the Euromediterranean Summit, said.

He also stressed that Cyprus would continue its contacts on all levels during the period leading up to the EU Summit.

Iacovou noted that ''the draft's content refers to one of the positions we submitted but includes other positive elements too.''

He added that the draft defines the methodology for the examination of the Turkish application, according to which Cyprus has the right to veto the opening and closing of each chapter of the acquis communautaire.

''I want to emphasise that Cyprus' capabilities do not stop with the granting of a date for the start of the accession talks,'' Iacovou said.

Commenting on a statement made by Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Gul that Turkey will not offer anything to Cyprus, Iacovou said that Turkey has legal obligations and is obliged to fulfill the Copenhagen criteria as regards Cyprus.

''We believe that our case is very solid and we will continue our contacts on various levels,'' Iacovou added.

Furthermore, Iacovou said that in the sidelines of the Euromediterranean Summit he had brief meetings with his European counterparts. ''Inevitably, the issue of the day was the draft,'' he said.

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