Moves to lift Turkey's embargo continue, says FM
Nicosia, Feb 16 (CNA) -- The Cyprus government continues its efforts to lift restrictions Turkey imposes on Cyprus-flagged vessels, Foreign Minister George Iacovou has said, noting that a European Union report on the matter is expected to be ready on Thursday.
Speaking with senior officials of the Cyprus Shipping Council, the Minister said that they exchanged views on the problems the Turkish embargo causes to Cypriot-registered ships and the measures the government is taking within the EU to lift the embargo.
''We are actively pursuing this goal within the EU. We are not trying to settle this matter through Ankara's signature of the protocol to its customs union with the EU,'' Iacovou said, adding that this issue affects vital interests of the Republic and violates international law as well as specific agreements.
Turkey, which does not recognize Cyprus and occupies for the past 30 years the island's northern areas, has said it would sign the protocol, after the EU had recommended it should, if accession negotiations are to begin in early October.
Iacovou said that EU committees dealing with transport are discussing this problem and a report by Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot is due out tomorrow.
He said commercial shipping is very important for Cyprus, which ranks sixth worldwide in the number of vessels registered under its flag.