Greek and Cypriot Presidents: Turkey should meet its obligations
Nicosia, Oct 16 (CNA) -- If Turkey does not meet its obligations that arise from the EU - Turkey negotiating framework, the country could be faced with suspension or cancellation of its European course, Greek President Karolos Papoulias and Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos stressed today.
Speaking to the press after they held a private meeting and official talks with the participation of delegations of both countries, President Papoulias and President Papadopulos also reiterated their common stance for the resumption of the negotiating process under the UN auspices, to reach a settlement of the Cyprus problem, without any foreign arbitration, or tight timetables.
Greek President said that the EU would monitor Turkey's European course, on the basis of the negotiating framework, that was adopted by all 25-member states, adding that if Turkey does not fulfil the commitments set by the negotiating framework, the consequences could lead even to the cancellation of the EU - Turkey relations.
President Papadopoulos expressed hope that during the next round of talks for the solution of the Cyprus problem, the EU role would be more active, and its positions regarding the compliance with the acquis communautaire would be more respected.
Responding to a remark that the EU ''shuts its eyes regarding the presence of a foreign occupation army in Cyprus'' and allowes Turkey to enter the EU, President Papoulias described it as ''paradox'' adding that the presence of foreign army in a free democratic country, member of the EU is the most direct violation of human rights.
''I donít believe that the EU will for long shut its eyes towards a fact that insults and is contrary to the EU principles'', Greek President said.
He added ''This is a very difficult time for Turkey, mainly because of the acceptance of the Turkish government of the commitments set by the negotiating framework. We will be able to watch these new developments after the begin of the accession negotiations with Turkey''.
Asked on the UN and EU role in the Cyprus issue he admitted there are risks, noting, however, that there are principles that both the UN and the EU agree upon.
''The Cyprus problem will remain under the UN auspices. We can not abandon the right basis we have, the UN resolutions regarding Cyprus, but for other reasons as well'', he said.
Cypriot President noted that there is a European dimension of the Cyprus problem, bearing in mind that from ''the four involved, three are already EU members, Cyprus, Greece and the UK'' whereas Turkey wishes to enter the Union.
He added ''for some time now, we try to convince the EU Council and the Commission that the EU should become involved to any new negotiations, since many aspects of the Cyprus problem concern the acquis communautaire''.
President Papadopoulos noted though that during the last round of talks for the solution of the Cyprus problem, the EU had send its experts on several issues, who participated under the auspices of the UN, in some technical committees, and said that ''in at least one case an EU representative had received orders not to submit any proposals that would align with the acquis, but were contrary to the provisions of the Annan plan''.
''I hope that at the next round the EU participation will be more active and its positions regarding the compliance with the acquis will be more respected'', President Papadopoulos underlined.
He noted that nobody should have the impression that the EU wishes to have a leading role in the Cyprus issue.
Asked why should Turkey abandon its intransigent stance on Cyprus during the accession negotiation process, when it did not do so, at a time when it needed Cyprus' and Greece's support for its EU course, President Papadopoulos noted that the EU has no mechanisms to enforce any sanctions to countries that are not member states, adding that ''the only therapy the EU has, is the suspension, or cancellation of the accession negotiations''.
''I can not tell you now whether this would happen, but I do not minimise the difficulties we will face, mainly due to Turkey's persistence and intransigent stance. Turkey's statements are unilateral interpretations for its own obligations. But the position of the EU 25, is that Turkey's statements are contrary to the negotiating framework'', he stressed.
Earlier and before the statements to the press, President Papadopoulos decorated Greek President Papoulias with the Grand Collar of the Order of Makarios III, saying that ''the decoration is a signal of the feelings of appreciation towards President Papoulias, as well as Greece and the Greek people''.
The Cypriot President hosts now a working lunch for Papoulias at the Presidential Palace.
Earlier both Presidents held a private meeting, followed by official talks held by delegations of both countries. Both Presidents described the official talks as ''very substantive''.
Cypriot President said that during the talks they covered the Cyprus problem, EU matters, as well as the ''new opportunities, new challenges and difficulties that may arise, the perspectives and preconditions for a new resumption of talks''.
''We reiterated the common stance and strategy of our governments. Our common goal is to achieve a functional and viable solution to the Cyprus problem, through substantive and productive talks'', President Papadopoulos said.
Greek President expressed his optimism, saying that Cyprus' EU membership would bring all wishful results.
''We all look forward to the resumption of talks for the Cyprus problem, without any tight timetables, without any arbitration and with a result that I wish it would be positive, so that it is approved by the Cypriot people'', Papoulias said.
Upon his arrival at the Presidential Palace, President Papoulias laid a wreath at the statue of Cyprus' first President, Archbishop Makarios, at the Presidential Palace where he was officially welcomed by President Papadopoulos in the presence of governmental officials.