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EU approves counterstatement to Turkish declaration on Cyprus
2005-09-21 13:54:39

Brussels, Sep 21 -- The EU officially approved on Wednesday the counterstatement of its 25 members to the Turkish unilateral declaration of not recognising the Republic of Cyprus.

The text was agreed on Tuesday after negotiations between the EU British Presidency and Cyprus, and was presented this morning to the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER), where no member state objected to its content.

After the approval of the counterstatement, COREPER looked into the Commission proposal for the framework of accession negotiations with Turkey, scheduled to begin on October 3.

In Nicosia, Cyprus Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides stated that the significance of the counter statement must not be underestimated noting that a counter statement was rendered necessary due to Turkey’s unacceptable declaration.

"It was a common belief of all EU member states that a counter statement was needed and that we should not limit ourselves to the initial response of the British Presidency", Mr. Chrysostomides also said, and added:

"The counter statement is a unanimous, political decision of the European Union, taken by all 25 member states, and it has equal importance as the other decisions taken unanimously by the Councils of the EU. The effort, therefore, to undermine the counter statement is unjustified under the circumstances".

Mr. Chrysostomides stressed that the Cyprus government cooperated closely with the Greek government, its diplomatic services, as well as all other EU countries, some more than others, which expressed their views during COREPER meetings, and noted especially the contribution of France.

Mr. Chrysostomides explained that counterstatement contains commitments of the 25 EU member states amongst themselves, as well as commitments undertaken with their decision as regards Turkey and ''completes and coexists with the negotiating framework and will determine from now on Turkey's EU accession negotiations course and its anticipated position towards Cyprus.''

''It is hoped that Turkey will fully implement the acquis communautaire and it is obvious what this means for Cyprus,'' he added, noting that there are security valves which some EU states promoted as regards the course of accession negotiations.

The Spokesman said that the content of Ankara's statement has been turned over, as it is a unilateral statement with no legal effect and no consequence on Turkey's obligations deriving from the protocol.

He noted that is has been secured that Turkey's statement does not give Ankara the right not to fully implement the customs union protocol for Cyprus, and that relevant chapters will not open if there is not full implementation and compliance by Turkey, which will have repercussions on the negotiating process.

As regards the status of the Republic of Cyprus, there is a full reference that the EU recognises only the Republic of Cyprus, which means that any effort of secession or violence is overturned and reaffirms the illegality of occupation, he added.

''In addition, with the views expressed by France, Turkey's obligation to recognise all EU member states is indicated,'' he said, and underlined the phrase regarding the need to normalise relations, ''which means the termination of every abnormality in the relations between Cyprus and Turkey.''

As regards the Cyprus problem, the Spokesman said there is reference to the UN Security Council resolutions and EU principles, while the EU commitment to enhance the UN Secretary General's good offices is expressed.

The full text of the counterstatement is as follows:

The European Community and its Member States acknowledge the signature by Turkey of the Additional Protocol to the Agreement establishing an Association between the European Community and its Member States on the one part and Turkey on the other, in accordance with the conclusions of the European Council of December 2004. They regret that Turkey felt it necessary to make a declaration regarding the Republic of Cyprus at the time of signature.

The European Community and its Member States make clear that this declaration by Turkey is unilateral, does not form part of the Protocol and has no legal effect on Turkey’s obligations under the Protocol. The European Community and its Member States expect full, non-discriminatory implementation of the Additional Protocol, and the removal of all obstacles to the free movement of goods, including restrictions on means of transport. Turkey must apply the Protocol fully to all EU Member States. The EU will monitor this closely and evaluate full implementation in 2006. The European Community and its Member States stress that the opening of negotiations on the relevant chapters depends on Turkey’s implementation of its contractual obligations to all Member States. Failure to implement its obligations in full will affect the overall progress in the negotiations.

The European Community and its Member States recall that the Republic of Cyprus became a Member State of the European Union on 1st May 2004. They underline that they recognise only the Republic of Cyprus as a subject of international law.

Recognition of all Member States is a necessary component of the accession process. Accordingly, the EU underlines the importance it attaches to the normalisation of relations between Turkey and all EU Member States, as soon as possible.

The Council will ensure a follow-up on the progress made on all these issues in 2006.

In the context of this declaration, the European Community and its Member States agree on the importance of supporting the efforts of the UN Secretary General to bring about a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem in line with relevant UNSCRs and the principles on which the EU is founded, and that a just and lasting settlement will contribute to peace, stability and harmonious relations in the region.

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