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FM says Cyprus seeking to normalise relations with Turkey
2004-12-06 15:58:53

Nicosia, Dec 6 (CNA) -- Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs George Iacovou has said it is certainly the aim of the Republic of Cyprus to seek the normalisation of relations with the Republic of Turkey, constructively utilising the opportunities presented by December 17th.

Speaking before the 12th meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council, taking place in Sofia on December 6 and 7, Iacovou said ''we are convinced that a process of normalisation will engender further positive developments for all concerned.''

''In this context we hope that Turkey will terminate its opposition towards Cyprus' accession to the Open Skies Treaty. At the same time, we remain committed to seeking, the soonest possible, a comprehensive negotiated settlement of the Cyprus problem consistent with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the principles and values upon which the EU is founded,'' he added.

Iacovou also said ''Cyprus' accession to the European Union on 1st May 2004 has improved our sense of security,'' noting however that ''the underlying problem of foreign occupation persists together with continuing colonisation and secessionist activities.''

The Cypriot Minister furthermore noted that Cyprus has already commenced the destruction of all its stockpiles of anti-personnel landmines, in fulfillment of its obligations under the Ottawa Convention.

''Furthermore, in a unilateral step designed to enhance confidence, we are proceeding, in cooperation with the UN, in the demining of the UN controlled buffer zone,'' he said, stressing that ''we expect Turkey to mirror image these activities in the near future.''

Iacovou also said that to meet today's challenges the OSCE needs to adhere strictly to its values and principles by maintaining a careful balance regarding its three core dimensions: the politico-military, the economic and environmental and the human dimension.

The Minister, who is heading the Cyprus delegation at the 12th meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council, had meetings with his counterparts of other countries on the sidelines of the Ministerial Council meeting.

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