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Cyprus President: Turkey cannot escape from signing protocol
2005-07-22 10:16:51

Paphos, Jul 23 (CNA) -- Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos stated today that Turkey has no chance to escape from signing the protocol extending its customs union agreement with the ten new EU member states, including Cyprus.

Invited to comment on reported information that Turkey intends to sign the protocol this weekend, President Papadopoulos said he repeatedly hears rumours that Turkey will sign the protocol.

“We have been hearing similar rumours since last March, not once, but many times”, the Cypriot President said from the western coastal town of Paphos.

What is certain, he added, “is that Turkey has no chance to escape from its obligation to sign” the protocol.

Turkey maintains it will issue a statement noting that signing the protocol does not tantamount to recognition of the Republic of Cyprus which has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island’s northern third.

Asked if Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat will also visit London after President Papadopoulos’s visit to the British capital, he said “Erdogan’s visit has been scheduled for two months now. It is intended to take place next Tuesday but was postponed for the next day”, he added.

President Papadopoulos will be in London on July 26 and 27, at the invitation of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, to discuss issues concerning the Cyprus problem and cooperation within the EU.

Invited to comment whether it is anticipated that the climate on Cyprus will change, bearing in mind the visits of Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to Turkey and of Cyprus Foreign Minister George Iacovou to Washington (on Monday), the Cypriot President said “this effort is continuing and it does not only take place with visits but also with other meetings that we have”.

He described Iacovou’s visit to Washington as “part of the framework of ordinary diplomatic activity”.

The Cypriot FM will meet his American counterpart on Monday in Washington.

Asked how he sees the construction of a wall along the ceasefire line by the Turkish occupation forces, President Papadopoulos said “we have not seen a wall as of yet”.

However, he added, “if this is true and real, then it creates tension and emphasizes the illegality and the unacceptable policy followed by Talat with the same emphasis as in the past for a solution of division rather than reunification”.

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