Consensus on EU counter-statement details still to be reached
Nicosia, Sep 8 (CNA) - With three weeks left until the 3rd of October, when Turkey is scheduled to begin accession negotiations with the EU, the Union's members are in agreement on the basics of a counter-statement regarding Ankara's declaration that it does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus, a full EU member, with consensus still to be reached on the details.
''We are agreed on the principles,'' British EU presidency sources have told CNA, noting that ''discussions will need to continue over the next few days'' and that ''the intensive contact that there has been between the British government and the government of Cyprus will continue.''
On yesterday's COREPER meeting, the sources said ''basically the position is that agreement was not possible yesterday so we will keep talking.''
''We hoped very much that there would be agreement. In the end it didn't happen and we will keep talking. I think there isn't that far to go. We will find a way through it. When exactly that will happen, we can't be sure but we will keep working very hard to reach agreement between all the member states,'' the sources added.
Asked when this would happen, the sources said ''the deadline is the fact that we need to start negotiations on the 3rd of October and everybody agrees that that is our objective.''
''So we have also got to discuss the negotiating mandate and we have got to get going. There is an urgency to this and that is why we will be talking to everyone involved very intensively over the next few days,'' the sources noted.
On the fact that there were just three weeks left till the 3rd of October, the sources agreed this was not a long time. ''The point is everybody is agreed that Turkey must fully implement the protocol, everybody is agreed that the EU only recognises the Republic of Cyprus and everybody is agreed that the declaration Turkey made doesn't undermine the signature of the protocol'' in the sense that this is a unilateral declaration, they said.
''Those are the fundamental elements on which we all agree. We need to translate that into the text of the statement and there are unresolved issues but I am sure that we will find a way,'' the sources concluded.
In July this year, Turkey signed the protocol extending its customs union with the EU to the ten new EU member states, including the Republic of Cyprus. Ankara accompanied the signature with a statement saying it did not recognise the Republic of Cyprus.