Britain sees Cyprus settlement in EU framework
Nicosia, Mar 22 (CNA) -- Deputy High Commissioner of Britain in Nicosia Rob Fenn expressed the view today that there would be a solution of the Cyprus problem through negotiations, within the European Union framework.
Opening a bicommunal seminar at the Ledra Palace hotel, situated in the UN-controlled buffer zone in Nicosia, for Greek and Turkish Cypriot journalists, organised by the British High Commission, Fenn said there were solutions that would lead to win-win situations, and it was this kind of settlement that the EU and UN were pursuing.
He added that Britain wanted Cyprus to join the EU for various reasons, because the EU is a great power, capable of healing wounds and helping to move forward.
Fenn said an important opportunity was lost to solve the Cyprus problem, at a time when everyone believed that a settlement would be achieved along with Cyprus' accession to the EU.
The British diplomat noted that although the aim of bringing Cyprus into the EU had been achieved, the benefits of accession would be most felt by the Cypriots when the island was reunited.
Speaking at the same seminar, head of the European Commission delegation in Budapest Michael Lake said there would be a delay in the commencement of Turkey's EU accession negotiations if Ankara did not sign the protocol extending its customs union to the new EU member-states, including Cyprus.
Lake said that if the protocol were not signed, then the October 3 2005 date for commencing negotiations would not be valid.
He said, however, that he believed Ankara would in the end extend its customs union.
Lake noted that those who believed the signing of the protocol did not mean the official recognition of the Republic of Cyprus were playing with fire and would be in for a surprise.
He added that the protocol must be signed and negotiations must begin, noting that the acquis communautaire should be implemented in Turkey, as there could be no distinction among candidates.