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Cyprus President: no signature, no accession talks for Turkey
2004-12-30 11:05:44

Nicosia, Dec 30 (CNA) -- If Turkey does not sign the protocol adapting the Ankara Agreement to extend to all ten new members of the European Union, it cannot begin accession negotiations, President Tassos Papadopoulos said here today.

He also pointed out that the EU sets out the conditions a candidate country must meet and it is up to that country to meet them.

''Turkey has applied for EU membership and if it does not comply with the terms laid down, accession talks will not start,'' Papadopoulos stressed.

His comments came in response to remarks by Turkish Premier Tayyip Erdogan that Ankara has not signed the conclusions of the EU summit, which he said are unilateral decisions, and consequently Turkey is not obliged to sign the protocol extending its customs union agreement to all ten new members, including Cyprus, which Ankara does not recognize.

''If Ankara wants, it will not sign the protocol. If it does not sign it, it will not start membership talks,'' President Papadopoulos added.

On prospects for the resumption of a fresh effort to solve the question of Cyprus, he said he was neither optimistic nor pessimistic.

''We have to know the agenda and the issues that will be discussed with regard to the talks in order to create the right conditions for the resumption of talks. We also need to know if these talks will be open and free or whether they will be subject to arbitration,'' he said, adding that the government continues to examine various issues with the UN and hopes that the conditions for talks will be created.

He expressed the conviction that the preconditions for a viable and functional solution exist but as he pointed out ''it takes two to reach an agreement.''

Responding to questions, he said proposals and counterproposals as well as compromises are made at negotiations.

''If we want a solution we shall make compromises but others should do the same as well,'' he said.

President Papadopoulos described as ''naive and unrealistic'' the view that the Greek Cypriot side must spell out the limits of its concessions.

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