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Malta hopes for positive developments in Cyprus
2005-02-18 10:33:20

Valetta, Feb 18 (CNA) -

Maltese Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi has expressed hope that there will soon be positive developments in the Cyprus problem, and offered his country's good offices, wherever necessary, to promote a Cyprus settlement.

The Maltese Prime Minister was speaking after talks in Valetta with the Cypriot delegation visiting Malta, headed by President Tassos Papadopoulos.

Replying to questions, President Papadopoulos said that UN proposals to solve the Cyprus problem ''do not just disappear,'' adding that ''we want such a solution to bring about the reunification of the country, the area, the society, the economy and the institutions, to make possible for the people of Cyprus to play their role in the EU and not Cyprus to a troublesome partner.''

On Turkey's EU aspirations, President Papadopoulos said ''we support the process of Turkey provided that, and that is a very important provision, Turkey will be ready to perform its obligations towards the EU and the Republic of Cyprus and behave like a member of the EU.''

He added that ''every applicant state must fully perform its obligations towards the EU and each one of its members.''

''Taking that for granted, we think the prospects of Turkey having closer relations with the EU and getting a date for starting negotiations is better that a Turkey which is alienated from the great processes and developments that take place in Europe,'' he added.

Regarding bilateral relations with Malta, President Papadopoulos said ''we have excellent relations but there is always room for improving them.''

In his remarks, Gonzi noted that they discussed issues of common concern, as well as ''the present situation with respect to the Cyprus issue and therefore how we assess the situation as developing in a way hopefully that will provide a solution in the best interest of the Mediterranean region, the best interest of Cyprus itself and its people.''

''We hope that perhaps in the coming months there would be some form of positive development in this area,'' he said, adding that ''Malta offers its good offices, wherever possible, to be of help for this situation to be able to move forward.''

On Turkey's EU course, Gonzi said ''the candidacy of Turkey is a positive development for the region, for the EU, it brings the borders of the EU closer to the Middle East.''

''Let us hope that this would bring further change in the region and in Turkey, that has already undergone some substantial changes but needs to undergo some very important changes,'' he concluded.

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