Kyprianou says Turkey must sign protocol otherwise no EU talks
by Christa Nicolaou
Athens, Mar 18 (CNA) - European Commissioner responsible for health and consumer protection Markos Kyprianou categorically stated that if Turkey does not sign the protocol extending its customs union agreement to the ten new member states, including Cyprus, its accession negotiations with the EU will not start.
Speaking today in Athens, he pointed out that the protocol must be implemented by October, admitting that there is a problem because the ratification procedures on the part of the EU and Turkey are time-consuming.
The Cypriot Commissioner said that ''for this reason there is pressure from the European Commission to proceed the soonest so that it can enter into force by then.''
Kyprianou said that ''we have gone beyond the deadlines and that is why we are now discussing its temporary implementation pending the formal procedure to ratify it.''
The Commissioner also expressed the view that it was a negative development that the regulation for direct trade with the Turkish occupied areas and that of the financial protocol were linked, depriving Turkish Cypriots of the assistance which would have benefited not only themselves but the whole island, and the approach between the two communities.
Kyprianou was received by Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis earlier today in Athens. He told reporters that he briefed Karamanlis on issues concerning his portfolio.