Cyprus President: Protocol expanding Turkey's Customs Union prepared and agreed
Larnaca, Apr 17 (CNA)--The Protocol expanding Turkey's Customs Union with the ten new EU member states, including the Republic of Cyprus is ''prepared and agreed with Turkey as well,'' Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos said here today.
Speaking to the press before his departure for Prague, Czech Republic, where he will pay an official visit, Papadopoulos said that the Protocol's text will be submitted before the EU General and External Affairs Council and after it is approved, it will be signed ''with no annexed or other documents.''
Papadopoulos added that the Protocol will be later ratified by the European Parliament, noting that the Protocol's implementation is a separate issue.
''Our views are well-known,'', Papadopoulos noted, stressing that Cyprus insists that Turkey should sign the protocol into force.
The President also pointed out there is an increasing number of EU member states, which say that ''no country respecting its signature signs an international agreement and does not put it into force.''
''Turkey is obliged to implement it (the protocol),'' Papadopoulos noted, adding that the question of ''when and how'' this will be implemented will be discussed at the EU within the period until October 3, when Turkey is expected to start accession negotiations with the EU.
Replying to a question regarding the European Commission's regulation for direct trade with the occupied part of Cyprus, Papadopoulos said the proposal of the Cyprus Government for a joint operation of Famagusta's port is still under discussion.
He pointed that in order to be viable, the opening of the Famagusta port should be combined with the reconstruction of the fenced-off area of the city.
''We have repeatedly stated that the goal for direct trade has no economic context but is a pure political move, something which everybody admits,'' the President noted.
He also recalled that the Green Line regulation has been improved and ''the Turkish Cypriot community can export goods both to the government-controlled areas and abroad, with no intervention or restriction from the Greek Cypriot side.''
He also said that the Cyprus Government has agreed to many arrangements with the EU ''to facilitate even more this trade.''