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Cyprus President in Luxembourg on a working visit
2005-02-28 11:34:04

Larnaca, Feb 28 (CNA) – Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos is on a working visit today in Luxembourg, at the invitation of Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, current president of the European Council.

President Papadopoulos will have talks with Juncker and meet the president of the House Lucient Weiler. In the evening, Papadopoulos will be in Brussels for a meeting with European Commission President Jose Barroso.

Speaking Sunday at Larnaca airport prior to departure, President Papadopouls stressed that Ankara has an obligation towards the European Union to sign the protocol to its custom union agreement with the EU, adding that if Turkey continues to refuse to do so, it would be impossible to sign and implement the protocol before 3 October 2005, the date set for signature by the EU if accession negotiations are to begin with Turkey.

Responding to questions, he said the government's proposal to open and operate the port of the Turkish-occupied town of Famagusta can be linked to ''the import of raw materials and products for the reconstruction of the fenced area of Famagusta''.

Asked if during his meetings with European officials he will put forward again this proposal (operate the port under an independent foundation and open the fenced area of Famagusta to its legal inhabitants), President Papadopoulos said that the Greek Cypriot side always brings this up.

As regards efforts to link an EU regulation on the financial support of the Turkish Cypriots to another one relating to direct trade between the northern Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus with the EU, President Papadopoulos said that the linking has ''exclusively political'' ramifications.

Commenting on a proposal by the president of the Turkish Cypriot chamber of commerce Ali Erel that Turkey could sign the protocol in return for the adoption of the direct trade regulation, Papadopoulos stressed that there is no connection or relation between the two issues.

In Luxembourg, after talks between the delegations from Cyprus and Luxembourg, Papadopoulos and Juncker will give a press conference.

President Papadopoulos will meet Luxembourg’s House President Lucien Weiler today and in the afternoon will have an audience with Henri, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg.

From Luxembourg, he will go to the Belgian capital to meet Barroso and address an international conference on federal issues.

In Brussels, President Papadopoulos will also meet with Cypriot EU Commissioner on Health and Consumer Protection Markos Kyprianou and Greek Commissioner for the Environment Stavros Demas.

He returns home on Thursday.

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