Cypriot President says Ankara to sign protocol with Commission
Nicosia, Dec 20 (CNA) - Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos said today that the European Council in Brussels decided that, in order for Turkey to commence EU accession negotiations, Ankara must sign the customs union protocol along with the European Commission, which signs on behalf of all EU member states, including Cyprus.
The President was commenting on statements by Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Gul that the protocol will not be signed between Turkey and the Republic of Cyprus but between Turkey and the European Commission, and thus Ankara would not be recognising the Republic of Cyprus.
Asked if there would be a new initiative to solve the Cyprus problem, the President said ''it is natural for everyone to wish some movement in the Cyprus problem,'' noting that ''we also want a solution but under other conditions.''
President Papadopoulos said he did not expect anything to happen before the so-called elections in the Turkish occupied areas of the Republic, adding that he hoped any talks on Cyprus after that would be ''in such a climate and under such conditions that could lead to an agreed solution.''
To a remark that Turkey appeared to be in a hurry to solve the Cyprus problem so that she would not have to sign the customs union protocol, the President replied, ''Her problem.''
Asked if he expected Turkey to be more flexible, President Papadopoulos said he could not make such a prediction, noting that ''Turkey has a timeframe and is obliged to keep it.''
Commenting on the European Council decisions at his daily press briefing, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides pointed out that October 3rd, the date given to Turkey to commence EU accession negotiations, was a landmark for Ankara not Nicosia, which was linked to Turkey's stance towards the Republic of Cyprus.
The Spokesman said the terms the EU set out for Ankara ''commit Turkey to a radical change of stance and behaviour.''
He said Ankara, not Cyprus, was obliged to make steps before October 3rd if she wanted to begin accession negotiations, adding that Turkey would be under continuous observation and monitory by all EU member states.
Chrysostomides also noted the close and continuous cooperation between Athens and Nicosia in preparation for the European Council.