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Cyprus President: Turkey's obligations to EU not linked to Cyprus
2005-01-31 14:04:28

Nicosia, Jan 31 (CNA) -- Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has said that Turkey's obligations towards the European Union must not be linked to the question of Cyprus.

Papadooulos dismissed suggestions that foreign interested parties in the question of Cyprus are not privy to his positions on changes in a UN-proposed solution plan he wants to introduce so that it meets the concerns of the Greek Cypriot community.

He was critical of Mehmet Ali Talat, Turkish Cypriot party leader and strong advocate of the UN plan, that he (Talat) had backed it because he had received promises with regard to efforts to lift the so-called isolation of the Turkish Cypriots.

''It would be wrong to link Ankara's obligations to the EU with the solution of the Cyprus issue. Recent statements by the Turkish Prime Minister are very confusing,'' Papadopoulos said when asked to comment on remarks by Tayyip Erdogan on his obligation to adapt the Ankara Agreement, relating to Turkey's customs union with the EU, so that it applies to all ten new EU members, including Cyprus.

Responding to questions, Papadopoulos said that the US and Britain have for a long time maintained that they are not aware of his positions and that he should outline the points of disagreement in the Annan plan.

''This insistence impresses some people,'' President Papadopoulos said, and referred to a meeting he had with British Minister of State Denis McShane during which he (Papadopoulos) listed a number of changes the Greek Cypriot side wants in the Annan plan and the day after McShane told the House of Commons that that he had yet to receive a list of changes the Cyprus government wanted.

Responding to questions on the yes vote by the Turkish Cypriot side at last April's referendum on the Annan plan, Papadopoulos said Mehmet Ali Talat backed the plan not because he believed it served the interests of the Turkish Cypriot community but because he had obtained certain promises.

''Talat and Turkey had no difficulty in saying yes to this plan as they got everything they had asked for during the arbitration process, at the UN-led talks, except diplomatic recognition, which they do not seek and which is not feasible,'' Papadopoulos said.

He pointed out that Talat does state that he has received promises to approve the Annan plan, which according to Talat have not been kept.

''I believed that the yes vote by the Turkish Cypriots in the referendum was a clear choice by the Turkish Cypriot community in that they considered the plan was serving their interests. I did not know that the approval of the plan had been bought out through promises given,'' Papadopoulos.

Responding to questions, Papadopoulos said he supported ''very much'' meetings between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot political parties.

''All contacts, all meetings are useful. However what you say and how you say it is important,'' he concluded.

The overwhelming majority of the Greek Cypriots (76 per cent) rejected the Annan plan in the April referendum. The Turkish Cypriots voted in favour by 65 per cent.

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