DISY leader confirms invitation to AKP to visit Cyprus
Larnaca, Mar 24 (CNA) -- President of Cyprus' rightwing opposition Democratic Rally (DISY) Nicos Anastasiades has confirmed reports in Turkish daily ''Radikal'' that his party had invited the Turkish Justice and Development Party (AKP) to visit Cyprus, noting that ''there seems to be a positive response and it is a matter of time.''
In statements at Larnaca Airport last night on return from Brussels, where he participated in the European People's Party summit, and asked if AKP's delegation would come to Cyprus through legitimate points of entry, Anastasiades said this was a ''fundamental precondition.'' A DISY delegation headed by Anastasiades visited recently Turkey at AKP's invitation.
Invited to say if the party delegation would be headed by its President, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Anastasiades said ''the President of the party happens to be the Prime Minister of the country and you realise it is not as simple or as easy as one would like.''
Anastasiades said that in Brussels he had the opportunity to meet with EU leaders, including Erdogan, the Prime Ministers of Greece and Italy, Costas Karamanlis and Silvio Berlusconi, EPP President Wilfried Martens, and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
He said that during his meetings he elaborated on ''our positions for Cyprus and the necessity for a more substantive intervention of the EU in case of a new initiative on the Cyprus problem.''
Replying to questions on Turkey's obligation to sign the protocol extending its customs union with the EU to the ten new member states, including Cyprus, Anastasiades said Erdogan ''asked for clarifications from the EU before signing the protocol.''
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory. Turkey is the only country in the world which does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus although it is one of the three guarators (the others are Greece and Britain) of the island's independence.