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Olli Rehn: Signing of Protocol by Ankara would be a positive step
2005-05-05 15:00:31

Nicosia, May 5 (CNA)-- The signing of the Protocol extending the Ankara Agreement to all 25 EU Member States would be a positive step towards normalisation of relations with Cyprus, pending a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem, European Union's Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn has said.

Addressing a forum in Istanbul (Constantinople), entitled ''Prioritisation: where should Turkey focus its energies'', Rehn referred to Turkey's relations with the EU member states, pointing out the need for the signing of the Ankara Agreement to expand its Custom's Union with all new EU members-states, including the Republic of Cyprus.

''The signature of the Protocol extending the Ankara Agreement to all 25 EU Member States is in the pipeline,'' the European Commissioner said, adding that this would ''be good news, and a positive step towards normalisation of relations with Cyprus, pending a comprehensive settlement.''

According to Rehn, right from the outset, the success of the European project depended on how the principles of peace, stability and prosperity would translate into reality.

''How can nations seriously expect economic growth and jobs, if they are plunged in a permanent state of tensions, whether inside or with their neighbours,'' Rehn wondered.

Rehn also welcomed the ''major improvements'' in Turkey's relations with Greece, noting that ''from the famous 'earthquake diplomacy' to the recent new confidence building measures, we can only applaud such progress.''

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