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Cyprus Port Authority says Turkish embargo on Cypriot ships obstructs free trade
2005-09-14 13:07:28

Limassol, Sep 14 - Cyprus Port Authority Chairman Chrysis Prenzas has called for action against the Turkish insistence to impose an embargo on ships flying the Cypriot flag or ships that have Cyprus ports as their last call, noting that such actions constitute serious obstacles to free trade within the EU.

Mr. Prenzas was addressing a TAIEX three-day seminar entitled ''Motorways of the Sea in the Mediterranean'' with the cooperation of the European Commission's Directorate General on transport policy and with the participation of the competent authorities from Cyprus, Malta, Slovenia and Croatia.

Mr. Prenzas also noted that sea ports are by definition very important in the implementation of Motorways of the Sea, adding that for an island state like Cyprus the efficiency of its ports system and maritime links for the prosperity of its people and its integration into the EU cannot be overemphasised.

The Cypriot official outlined CPA's policy to turn the Motorways of the Sea into a reality for Cyprus, noting that CPA has given priority to the improvement of its infrastructure and superstructure to respond to technological changes, concentrating its efforts to align with the EU acquis communautaire regarding security, safety and efficiency, as well as actively participating in the cooperation in the Mediterranean.

But, he stressed, ''for the 'concept' of Motorways of the Sea to develop into reality it is not only necessary to create the right infrastructure and to minimise formalities, but is essential to remove barriers to the free flow of commerce and shipping.''

He also emphasised the need for action in lifting measures that are working towards opposite objectives, noting that Turkey is knowingly opposing the development of Motorways of the Sea by preventing ships flying the Cyprus flag or ships having Cyprus ports as a last port of call from entering Turkish ports.

''Such measures constitute serious obstacles and I would say distortions in the directions of free trade within the EU,'' Mr. Prenzas added.

Addressing the seminar, Cypriot Chamber of Commerce Vice President Andreas Georgiades said that Cyprus is an island with a long tradition in trade, possessing today the sixth largest merchant fleet in the world, adding that maritime industry is crucial for the Cypriot economy.

He elaborated on the EU policy concerning the Motorways of the Sea, adding that if properly implemented, Motorways of the Sea will lead to the consolidation of freight flows and will result in high quality, frequent door-to-door intermodal maritime-based services.

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