Cyprus totally satisfied with EU Ministers' Informal Meeting
by Rebekah Gregoriades
Newport, Sep 2 (CNA) - The Cypriot government is totally satisfied with the works of the Informal Council of the EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs, which wrapped up its two-day meeting this afternoon in Newport, Wales.
Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs George Iacovou said agreement had been reached on a text on an EU statement to counter the Turkish declaration accompanying the signing of the additional protocol to its customs union, which said Ankara did not recognise the Republic of Cyprus.
He added that this text was a great improvement on a draft presented by the British presidency two days ago, noting that Cypriot positions were met with great support. Iacovou said the text would now be sent to COREPER for further processing and was expected to come out even better.
Iacovou expressed ''satisfaction regarding the works of this Informal Council regarding Cyprus,'' explaining that ''firstly we have obtained a text, which has no similarity with the previous one, and thus it is a noticeable improvement on the first British attempt, and secondly there was a discussion at the Council of Ministers, during which the Cypriot positions were broadly supported.''
''Basically there was no one who disagreed with the Cypriot positions. Two or three delegations just stressed the importance of Turkey in the European front in general. But many supported the Cypriot positions, both generally and on specific issues,'' he added.
Iacovou noted that ''the agreement is that this improved text will be processed, based on all that was said at the Council, by the Permanent Representatives' Committee.''
''Thus, it is reasonable to expect that the improved British text, after being processed, will be even better,'' Iacovou said, noting that ''these are the reasons I feel we can be totally satisfied with this Informal Council of Minister of Foreign Affairs.''
He also pointed out ''the excellent cooperation we had with the Greek diplomatic service,'' including Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Petros Molyviatis, ''both previously and here.''
Iacovou also said ''the fact that these things have evolved in a very satisfactory manner for our side is also due to the fact that the Turkish delegation on all levels, including that of (Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah) Gul, expressed its discontentment even over today's text.''
The text to be sent to COREPER says the EU acknowledges signature by Turkey of the Ankara Agreement Protocol, but regrets that Turkey felt it necessary to make a declaration regarding the Republic of Cyprus at the time of its signature.
Furthermore, it makes clear that this declaration is unilateral, does not form part of the protocol and has no legal effect on Turkey’s obligations.
The EU expects full, non-discriminatory implementation of the additional protocol, and the removal of all obstacles to the free movement of goods, including restrictions on means of transport.
Furthermore, it notes that Turkey must apply the protocol fully to all EU member states, and that the EU will monitor this closely and evaluate full implementation in 2006.
It also recalls that, as long as Turkey has not implemented its contractual obligations with the EU, negotiations on the relevant chapters cannot be opened.
The text says the EU recalls that the Republic of Cyprus became a member state of the EU on 1st May 2004, and that the EU recognises the Republic of Cyprus, only, as a subject of international law.
Furthermore, the EU underlines the importance it attaches to the de jure normalisation of relations between Turkey and all EU member states, as soon as can be achieved.
It notes Turkey’s continuing commitment, in its declaration, to support the efforts of the UN Secretary General to bring about a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, and agrees that a just and lasting settlement will contribute to peace, stability and harmonious relations in the region.
The EU also says, according to the text, that it will remain seized of all the issues outlined and will review them in 2006, through the Commission’s reports submitted during the accession process.