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EU official says trade can facilitate reconciliation
2005-02-16 11:52:06

Nicosia, Feb 16 (CNA) -- Head of the European Commission Representation in Cyprus Adriaan van der Meer called on the business community in Cyprus to take up the new climate created by the Green Line Regulation, adding that through trade ''we can create further economic interdependence between both communities, therefore facilitating reconciliation and peace.''

Speaking to the press, van der Meer said that the Green Line Regulation for trade between the two sides on the island provides the legal framework and that it was now up to the business communities on both sides to make use of this new situation and to increase the volume of trade.

The EU official said that ''tomorrow, if everything goes well, the amendments to the Green Line Regulation will be formalised.''

''I take this occasion to encourage and ask the business community to take up the new challenges, the new climate that has been created. The legal framework is there now in such a way that it is conducive to do the inter-island trade but it is now up to the business communities on both sides to make use of this new situation and to increase the volume of trade,'' he said.

He pointed out that ''the average volume of trade up till now is about 90,000 euros per month, which we consider important but there must be more to be done in that respect.''

''The basic philosophy from outside is that through trade we can create further economic interdependence between both communities, therefore facilitating reconciliation and peace,'' van der Meer added.

Invited to comment on the trip a US business delegation is to make to the Turkish occupied areas of the island, van der Meer said he had ''no comment on that'' but noted ''in general we very much promote matchmaking between the two communities.''

''Let us hope that the new climate can lead to something more than what has been done before,'' he said.

The EU official noted that ''we have a customs expert working in the Turkish Cypriot chamber of commerce to check whether the goods are of Turkish Cypriot origin.''

''We have carried out health checks on the citrus in the north, which is fine for us. The citrus in the north can be traded. There is a clean bill of health,'' van der Meer said.

He added that ''with our EU experts we are building up a track record as regards the disease situation for potatoes in the north,'' noting that so far ''nothing has been found.''

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