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British High Commissioner says EU statement well balanced
2005-09-21 13:50:31

Nicosia, Sep 21 (CNA) -- British High Commissioner to Cyprus Peter Millett described the EU counterstatement to Turkey's declaration of not recognising the Republic of Cyprus ''well-balanced'', noting that ''it certainly meets the main points which have been raised by the Cyprus delegation while also delivering on the EU strategic objective.''

Millett said Britain was pleased that the counterstatement has been agreed and the way forward on the negotiating framework is clear, noting at the same time his disappointment by accusations that the British Presidency did not act in an impartial way.

''We've listened to the views of all member states and tried to balance the views of all member states, while also ensuring that we could deliver on the EU strategic objective,'' he said.

Millett thanked the Cypriot delegation in Brussels ''for their cooperation over the last few weeks.''

He said ''clearly the whole question of opening the negotiations with Turkey has been probably the most significant external priority of the EU in the last few weeks, not because it has any sort of special British interest or agenda, but rather because it is a priority which we've inherited from the December Council and the Luxembourg Presidency and which we want to pass on to the Austrian Presidency in a good state, on the basis of common decisions.''

He said ''the last few weeks have been very difficult, we've had a very difficult process.''

''I can assure you that the UK has listened at every stage to the views raised by the Cyprus government. There has been a frequent contact with them particularly in Brussels and also here, at the Gymnich meeting, and the process we've been through is the normal process of negotiating through COREPER, tabling texts, adjusting them and so forth,'' Millett added.

''We believe that the result is well balanced. It certainly meets the main points which have been raised by the Cyprus delegation while also delivering on the EU strategic objective,'' he noted.

He said he was ''very disappointed by accusations that the Presidency has not been acting in an impartial way.''

''That is certainly not the case. We've listened to the views of all member states and tried to balance the views of all member states, while also ensuring that we could deliver on the EU strategic objective,'' he assured.

He added that ''we recognise it's been a very difficult and sensitive issue for many member states and we are pleased that everybody at the current stage seems to be satisfied with the outcome.''

Invited to explain the ''harsh words'' used by the Cypriot government and President Tassos Papadopoulos concerning the British Presidency's stance, Millett said, ''I don't think it is for me to try to explain that.''

''As I said, I am very disappointed that such statements have been made because I don't think they are based on fact. And actually if you look at the points which the President was making and which he identified, three points to which the Cyprus government attached particular importance, those three points relating rightly to the fact that the Turkish statement was unilateral and that it should not undermine the purpose of the protocol, that we expected full implementation. All those points were in our very first draft which we tabled to COREPER,'' he added.

To a remark that Cyprus' dissatisfaction was due to what was perceived as an effort by the Presidency to link recognition of Cyprus by Turkey with the solution of the Cyprus problem, Millett said, ''I don't think that was necessarily a deliberate effort to undermine Cypriot positions.''

He said it is probably a practical statement about the way things are likely to happen.

''But we have listened to those views, we have adjusted the text accordingly,'' he reiterated, noting that there has been right and proper action on behalf of the Presidency.

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