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Marathon negotiations expected on EU Council conclusions
2004-12-16 15:48:44

By Nicos Bellos

Brussels, Dec 16 (CNA) – Consultations on whether to grant Turkey a date to start accession talks with the European Union could continue well into the early hours of Friday, diplomatic sources in Brussels have told CNA, as all indications are that there will be no conclusion during the EU leaders’ working dinner this evening, which opened the European Council.

The aim is to wrap up tomorrow, Friday.

One of the issues on which intense consultations are taking place is paragraph 19 of the conclusions, which concerns Cyprus.

The same sources said that one of the biggest problems in finding a compromise is the exact wording that will accompany the date to start accession negotiations as Turkey does not want any reference to open-ended negotiations.

A committee of Turkish experts is in continuous contact with the Dutch Presidency’s technical committee regarding the wording of the conclusions, including paragraph 19, while Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot maintains an open dialogue with Cyprus Foreign Minister George Iacovou.

Meanwhile, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos is in constant contact with his EU counterparts in an effort to secure the widest possible support for his positions.

CNA has learnt that, at their meeting earlier today, President Papadopoulos and Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis reviewed the situation as it stands at present and agreed on the next moves that need to be made in order to satisfy Cyprus’ demands.

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