Cyprus unsatisfied with British EU Presidency's stand on Turkey
Nicosia, Sep 8 – Cyprus Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said today that the British Presidency of the EU is pursuing a document, which will correspond to the expectations of the Presidency and perhaps of Turkey, without taking into account the objections of other member states, including the Republic of Cyprus.
Referring to the failure of COREPER in Brussels on Wednesday to agree on a counterstatement to Turkey’s declaration that it does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus, the Spokesman replied that the Cyprus government will continue efforts for a clear and unconditional counterstatement noting that it is the EU’s collective responsibility to defend the principles and foundations on which its functioning is based on.
Mr. Chrysostomides also talked about a “hardening of British positions” concerning the counterstatement, noting this was due to Turkey’s insistence and representations, adding that it is not possible to resort to Turkey for its approval for the statement and that the mistake which Britain is committing is to act as though Turkey is already a member state.
“It (Britain) forgets that unanimity is required to adopt the statement and subsequently unanimity for Turkey’s negotiating framework”, Mr. Chrysostomides said.
The Spokesman revealed that British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw on Wednesday talked with his Cypriot counterpart George Iacovou to inform him on his article in today’s “International Herald Tribune” where he talked in favour of Turkey’s accession to the EU, as well as starting accession talks without problems. “It is absurd”, Chrysostomides added, that Mr. Straw did not discuss the issue of recognition of Cyprus and the formulas which the presidency is seeking to solve the issue.
Mr. Chrysostomides said that Britain’s attitude is troubling Cyprus as well as other countries, which have indicated to the presidency that it needs to show impartiality and bear in mind the collective interest of the EU and not the interest it has by securing the opening of accession talks between Turkey and the EU.
For instance, Mr. Straw underlines the economic relations between Britain and Turkey in his article, said Mr. Chrysostomides.
Mr. Chrysostomides also said the British presidency seems to be seeking a document where its wording will correspond to the presidency’s expectations and perhaps those of Turkey, without taking into account the objections of other member states including that of the Republic of Cyprus”.
“This is exactly where the mistake is being committed. In order to have a consensus, what is required is a document that will be accepted by all member states”, Mr. Chrysostomides 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.
During a meeting of the COREPER on Wednesday, the European Union's 25 member states did not manage to agree on their response to Turkey's refusal to recognise the Republic of Cyprus, due to disagreements and the overall handling of the issue by the British Presidency.