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Cyprus President: There will be very hard negotiations at EU Summit
2004-12-16 10:04:20

Larnaca, Dec 16 (CNA) -- Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos said negotiations among EU member states during the EU Summit, which begins today in Brussels and will decide whether to give Turkey a date to open accession negotiations, will be very hard until the last minute.

Speaking at Larnaca airport prior to his departure for Brussels to attend the European Council, Papadopoulos assured that ''we will strive until the very last moment to achieve those we consider to be necessary.''

Invited to say if veto against Turkey, the country that occupies Cyprus' northern part since 1974, is among his choices, Papadopoulos said veto is a choice for every country for any issue.

''If at this particular case conditions will be created to exercise it or not, this is the question,'' he said.

''Certainly what is indicated are hard negotiations until the last moment. I cannot tell if the Council's deliberations will go on normally or if we will face a crisis. What I certainly know is that negotiations will be very hard until the last minute and will depend on many imponderable factors and on the positions of other countries, that they will certainly not tell us,'' he noted.

Papadopoulos said ''we have taken every action we could take, we have made contacts, discussions, proposals and until the last moment we will strive to achieve those we consider as necessary''.

'' I will try to do what is right for Cyprus, what I deem that it is for the benefit of the Cyprus people both at short-term and long-term.''

The Cypriot President also said that last night he spoke on the phone with Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, whom he is going to meet as soon as he arrives in Brussels.

Asked if the Cyprus Republic has secured the necessary support of other countries to its demands, Papadopoulos said the support of other countries is already given and noted that ''the issue is if this support, that what we ask for is rational and justified, will be incorporated in the decision taken. All these depend on a lot of factors.''

''It seems that Turkey has received assurances from strong countries that it will be granted a date without conditions and we have received assurances that Turkey will have to comply with certain preconditions,'' he noted.

Papadopoulos said that ''the discussion will take place between these two positions and it depends on what other countries will decide - something which also affects the Cyprus problem - that is if the countries insist on their reservations or if they abandon them. All these are imponderable factors that are not known now.''

To a remark that there are three scenarios for what is going to happen at the Summit - a compromise, hard negotiations or a crisis - Papadopoulos said these are three existing scenarios.

Asked if the Cypriot side will consider the signing of the protocol to extend Turkey's customs union with the 10 new member states to be adequate for her, Papadopoulos said ''no one begins negotiations by outlining his final limits, nor does he begin by putting unreasonable demands. You have to find the middle road.''

He noted the situation is being shaped according to the reactions of other countries as well, noting that ''this is a discussion between the 25 heads of states, and each country has its own positions, with its own degree of intense and insistence.''

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