Straw: Britain is committed to help solve the Cyprus issue
by Nicos Bellos
Brussels, Jul 12 (CNA) --- British Foreign Minister Jack Straw, whose country holds the current EU rotating presidency, underlined today Britain's commitment to contribute to the efforts to solve the Cyprus issue.
Straw, who was presenting the program of the British EU presidency at the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs, said that his country, being a guarantor power of Cyprus, has a role to play and is committed to contribute to the solution of the Cyprus problem.
Answering questions by MEP's Straw said that Turkey's EU accession course would prove to be helpful in the efforts to solve the Cyprus issue.
Replying to a comment made by Cypriot MEP Marios Matsakis that the acquis communautaire is not implemented by Britain at its Bases in Cyprus, Straw said that the acquis is implemented in some areas, whereas in some others it is not, adding that Britain and Cyprus have a good cooperation on the issue.
Straw added that the Bases are very important, since they contribute to the Union's defense, and noted that the system under which the Bases operate, is complex.
About Turkey, Straw said that there should not be any discrimination regarding its EU course, stressing though, that Turkey should fulfill all Copenhagen criteria.
On the Union's enlargement, Straw expressed the opinion that the process should continue, and he emphasized on the future accession of all former Yugoslavian countries.
Referring to Bulgaria and Romania, Straw said that they could join the EU on January 1st, 2007, provided that they fulfill the commitments they undertook regarding the acquis communautaire.