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British MEP: Turkey must sign Customs Union protocol with Cyprus
2005-03-16 11:23:50

By Maria Antouna

Brussels, Mar 16 (CNA) -- Turkey has to sign the Customs Union Protocol under the Ankara Agreement, to include all ten new member-states of the European Union, including the Republic of Cyprus, Euro MP of the British Labour Party and member of the European Parliament Committee on Constitutional Affairs Richard Corbett has said.

Corbett told CNA in Brussels that ''this is a necessary step for Turkey to move forward towards (EU) membership''.

Being a rapporteur on the EP resolution on Constitution last January, Corbett said that Cyprus' membership of a stronger European Union through the new Constitution can indirectly help the situation on the island.

''The fact that Turkey is asking to join a stronger European Union and knows that has to have the agreement of every single state, including Cyprus, I think that obviously gives the obligation to help negotiations for a solution at last to Cyprus'', he added.

Corbett also said that the British Labour Party wants a united Cyprus.

''We thought we were nearly there with the Annan Plan'', said, adding ''it was a balanced plan accepted in the north and not accepted in the south".

''Maybe with just adjustments it could be acceptable to the south (Greek Cypriots). That will be the easiest and best way forward'', he concluded.

He expressed hope the Annan Plan will be endorsed by both sides in a future referendum.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

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