Cyprus satisfied with EU summit decision on Turkey
by Gregory Savva
Brussels, Dec 17 (CNA) - Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos has said he is satisfied with the outcome of the EU summit in Brussels, which decided to give Turkey a date to commence accession negotiations.
''We put forward our demands and I think today's decision satisfies our demands to a great extent,'' he told a press conference in Brussels.
The Cypriot President added that the decision grants the Republic of Cyprus the right to veto Turkey's EU course, in the event that Ankara does not fulfill its commitment to sign the customs union protocol.
He added that this statement is on record in the summit's minutes.
Asked if today's decision approached the request of the Republic of Cyprus for the normalisation of its relations with Ankara, President Papadopoulos said ''we believe the protocol itself brings about normalisation, at least in the stages that it covers (free movement of persons, goods etc).''
''The protocol covered many of the demands we had put forward,'' the President added.
Referring to the possibility of Cyprus having exercised its right to veto today's decision, President Papadopoulos said the question that tormented him was whether the veto would have promoted a settlement of the Cyprus problem or simply satisfied the feelings of the people.
Asked if the outcome of the European Council favoured a new initiative in the Cyprus problem, President Papadopoulos said there was no direct provision of linking the two, adding that it would be very harmful if all Turkey's demands were linked to the Cyprus problem. ''The solution of the Cyprus problem is my pursuit,'' he added.
President Papadopoulos said he was leaving Brussels with a clear conscience ''and the certainty that I did the best for Cyprus, its rights and the rights of its people.''
He was due to leave for home later tonight.