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Rhen: Implementation of protocol is essential by Turkey
2005-08-01 17:15:23

Nicosia, Aug 1 (CNA) -- EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn has said ''our preliminary assessment is that the declaration'' of Turkey stating that Ankara does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus ''does not call into question Turkey's commitment to implement the protocol, which is essential.''

In a statement, Rehn said the signing of the additional protocol to the Ankara Agreement should clear the way for the opening of accession negotiations with Turkey on 3 October, on the basis of the negotiating framework to be agreed by the Council, for which a proposal was presented by the Commission on 29 June.

Furthermore he stressed ''it is particularly important that Turkey confirms its continued commitment to support efforts for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.''

Rehn said the signing by the EU - Presidency and Commission - and Turkey of the additional protocol to the Ankara Agreement is a welcome development.

''This will extend the EU-Turkey customs union to all new Member States, including the Republic of Cyprus. Together with the entry into force of 6 important pieces of legislation (which occurred on 1 June), the signature of the additional protocol was referred to in the conclusions of the December 2004 European Council as a step to be taken before the opening of accession negotiations with Turkey,'' he noted.

''The signature therefore should clear the way for the opening of accession negotiations with Turkey on 3 October, on the basis of the negotiating framework to be agreed by the Council, for which a proposal was presented by the Commission on 29 June,'' Rehn added.

He noted that at the time of signature, Turkey issued a declaration, in particular relating to Cyprus, which the European Union will examine carefully, for example, to see if there are any legal implications.

''Our preliminary assessment is that the declaration does not call into question Turkey's commitment to implement the protocol, which is essential,'' Rehn said.

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