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Cyprus President reiterates positions to EU Commissioner
2005-05-12 13:38:26

Nicosia, May 12 (CNA) -- European Union regulations relating to Cyprus and efforts to find a negotiated political settlement were on the agenda of a meeting here today between Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and European Union Commissioner responsible for enlargement Olli Rhen and Minister Delegate for Foreign Affairs and Immigration of Luxembourg Nicolas Schmit.

''We talked about the release of 259 million euro, earmarked for the Turkish Cypriots, without any terms or conditions attached to the relevant regulation and we intend to make a formal proposal on this. We also talked about implementation of the regulation governing trade across the Green Line,'' he said.

There is no link between these two regulations and the one on free trade between the EU and the Turkish occupied areas of the Republic, he added.

Responding to questions, he said he also discussed the government proposal on the return of the fenced area of Famagusta to its lawful inhabitants and on the reopening of the city port.

''I raise these issues at every meeting, here and in Brussels, in addition to the exploitation of Greek Cypriot property in the occupied areas,'' he said.

Foreign Minister George Iacovou, speaking after a meeting with Rhen, said the Commission seems to insist that the two regulations (on funding to the Turkish Cypriots and direct trade with the occupied north) must be linked. ''Perhaps not with the same vigour as it had done in the past,'' he noted.

Responding to questions, he said the government believes that the regulation providing for 259 million euro for the Turkish Cypriots must be approved in time so that funds available are not wasted, before EU deadlines on the use of such funds are met.

''We would like the EU Luxembourg presidency to table this regulation for approval by the end of May,'' he said, adding that the Commission has not put forward any alternative solutions to the difference in approach between Brussels and Nicosia but it has ''many thoughts'' on the matter.

Responding to questions, he said the government cannot accept the regulation on direct trade as this was presented by the Commission at COREPER (permanent representatives of member states to Brussels) and insists on disconnecting the two regulations (funding and direct trade) as there will be no gains from such an approach.

Rhen, visiting the island for the first time since he assumed office, will give a press conference later today.

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