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Cyprus FM satisfied with result of EU agreement on Turkey
2005-10-05 12:16:44

Larnaca, Oct 5 -- Cyprus Foreign Minister George Iacovou has expressed satisfaction with the outcome of EU deliberations in Luxembourg, which resulted in the opening of accession negotiations with Turkey.

Speaking on arrival from Luxembourg, Mr. Iacovou said that Cyprus' goal was ''to safeguard everything we had secured in the negotiating framework by September 22,'' and noted that ''Turkey has undertaken commitments on the basis of the negotiating framework.''

He confirmed reports that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had called him last week ''expressing some concerns over the content of the negotiating framework and making some suggestions for changes.''

Iacovou said he was pleased with the EU meeting conclusions because ''the Council itself has issued the documents on the basis of which negotiations with Turkey will take place.''

''This is the document presented Monday night by British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and Turkey agreed to it. The core item of this document is the negotiating framework where all paragraphs relating to Cypriot objectives remain unchanged,'' he added.

Mr. Iacovou said there were other two documents, Straw's opening statement at the formal opening of membership talks with Ankara and the administrative and organizational arrangements to be used during Turkey's negotiations.

Responding to questions, he said Cyprus aimed to safeguard all that it had achieved in the negotiating framework by September 22.

Commenting on Turkish statements that its position on Cyprus will not shift, Mr. Iacovou replied: ''Turkey has undertaken obligations on the basis of the negotiating framework.''

Asked about paragraph 7 of the negotiating framework, the Foreign Minister said that some quarters wanted this paragraph to change and ''various efforts were made'' towards this end.

The paragraph notes that Turkey has to align its policies towards third countries and its positions within international organisations with EU policies and positions. Ankara has in the past caused problems to Cypriot attempts to participate or join international organisations.

''We had said right from the start that we would not accept any amendments of this paragraph. There were none,'' he pointed out.

Commenting on Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul's statement that there are ''two realities'' in Cyprus, Mr. Iacovou said ''Greece and Cyprus have helped Turkey to get where it is now.''

The minister referred to ''Turkish games'' played by Gul, who had refused to leave Istanbul until Turkey's demands were met.

''Turkey either recognizes or will recognize how much Cyprus can do to hamper its course but has not done so,'' Mr. Iacovou said.

On his telephone conversation with Ms. Rice, he said ''I explained to the US Secretary of State it was not not feasible to introduce changes to the negotiating framework and she suggested to issue a statement on the basis of the autonomy of organisations,'' he said.

''I cannot say that pressure was exerted,'' he noted, adding that ''views were discussed but unfortunately we could not agree'' on changes to the negotiating framework.

He explained that this position had been communicated to Mr. Straw.

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