House President criticises British stance on Cyprus
by Kyriakos Tsioupras
London, Sep 12 (CNA) - Cypriot House of Representatives President and General Secretary of leftwing AKEL political party Demetris Christofias has criticised the stance of the United Kingdom regarding the Cyprus problem and called on the Greek community in Britain to step up efforts towards changing this stance.
Furthermore, he called on the people of Cyprus to make a joint and collective effort to defend the Republic of Cyprus and create the preconditions for a settlement of the political problem the soonest possible.
Addressing a political gathering in London on Sunday, organised by the AKEL division in Britain, Christofias referred to the latest developments in the Cyprus problem and pointed out the need for collective action of the political forces.
He added that Britain ''has always been behind moves against Cyprus,'' noting that ''this role has become a leading one with Britain taking on the EU presidency.''
Christofias said ''London is now in bilateral contact with France with a view to weaken the French position with the argument that the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus will be tabled on the eve of Turkey's accession.''
In July, Ankara signed the protocol extending its customs union to the ten new EU member states, including Cyprus, but accompanied the signature with a statement saying it did not recognise the Republic of Cyprus. Turkey has been occupying the island's northern third since it invaded it in 1974.
France has said that Turkey should recognise Cyprus before the start of its accession negotiations, scheduled for October 3.
Replying to questions, Christofias said ''the general desire is for Turkey to proceed towards the EU,'' noting that ''this course could act as a catalyst for a viable, functional and as just as possible solution.''
''However, if Turkey continues Cyprus' occupation undisturbed, things will be entirely different,'' Christofias pointed out.
He added that ''we must collectively analyse the whole situation and measure our potential,'' noting that ''although our aim is not to veto Turkey, we must not rule out any option, if that is deemed necessary.''