No COREPER consensus yet on counterstatement for Turkey
by Nicos Bellos
Brussels, Sep 14 (CNA) - The European Union's Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER) failed today to reach consensus on a draft counterstatement to Ankara's declaration that it does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus.
Today's long discussion is considered to have created the conditions for a consensus in a new COREPER meeting within the next few days. The meeting was held in Brussels amidst press reports that the British presidency and France reached consensus on a draft counterstatement.
Interventions by the Representatives of Cyprus and Greece, Nicos Emiliou and Vasilis Kaskarelis respectively, contributed to the change of the climate. These interventions had a significant impact on a large group of other member states, which called on the Presidency to include the views expressed at the meeting in the draft counterstatement.
According to diplomatic sources, Emiliou expressed Cyprus' strong discontentment for the presidency's practices during the last days and namely to refrain from deliberating and taking into account the Cypriot views.
Kaskarelis pointed out, according to the same sources, that Turkey is obliged to implement the Additional Protocol to extend its Customs Union to cover the ten new EU member states, including the Republic of Cyprus, particularly noting that the current wording of the paragraph on the recognition of Cyprus by Turkey cannot be accepted under any circumstances.
The particular paragraph connects the recognition of Cyprus with the efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.
Kaskarelis warned that if no agreement were reached on the content of this paragraph, a big problem would be created in the discussions on Turkey's negotiating framework.
The interventions by the Representatives of Cyprus and Greece, as well as by at least ten other member states, indicated to the British Presidency to amend the draft counterstatement so that the positions of Nicosia, Athens and other members would be included in the draft.
The British Presidency's Representative reserved the right to reply until receiving instructions from London. However, the Greek side as well other countries suggested to the British Presidency to proceed with consultations with Nicosia to find common ground.
Diplomatic sources told CNA that these negotiations should be made immediately, while an extraordinary COREPER meeting within the week, maybe on Friday, is possible with a view to reach a final consensus. Otherwise the issue will be referred to COREPER's meeting next Wednesday.