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Cyprus President says recognition by Turkey is a ''serious issue''
2005-09-15 12:47:38

New York, Sep 14 - The recognition of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey constitutes a ''very serious'' issue, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos said on Wednesday, stressing, however, that the existence of the Republic of Cyprus did not depend on the Turkish recognition.

Commenting on the European Union's Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) failure to reach consensus on a draft counterstatement to Ankara's declaration that Turkey does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus, President Papadopoulos noted that ''this is not something new.''

''We determined which are the values and the points we wanted to be included (in the counterstatement) from the very beginning,'' he added.

Some other EU member states ''have a different interpretation from our own and the efforts are constant to achieve the inclusion of all the elements we deem important in the counterstatement,'' the President pointed out.

Replying to a question whether the British EU Presidency's code of contact is provocative, President Papadopoulos said ''our response is planned'', but he did not elaborate.

''As far as I know there was significant support of our positions in today's (COREPER) meeting,'' he added, noting that ''17 countries staunchly supported our positions.''

Asked when the negotiations on Turkey's negotiating framework will start, President Papadopoulos differentiated the negotiations for the counterstatement from the negotiations for the negotiating framework, stressing that these two issues are connected but not inter-dependent.

Replying to a question whether Cyprus will allow Turkey to commence accession negotiations on October 3, if Ankara fails to recognise the Republic of Cyprus, President Papadopoulos said he could not say what the Cypriot government would do and wondered whether ''the recognition is the most crucial issue.''

''Turkey has been failing to recognise us for thirty years. I don't underestimate this, but we are clear. It is a serious issue, however there are other matters,'' President Papadopoulos noted.

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