Cypriot President pledges to continue cooperating in Turkey's EU path
Nicosia, Nov 15 (CNA) - President Tassos Papadopoulos said the Republic of Cyprus will continue to cooperate within the framework of Turkey's accession negotiations and expressed hope that Turkey will rise to the challenge and will prove to be a reliable partner throughout its accession process and later within the Union.
President Papadopoulos made the statement during the presentation of the credentials of the new Ambassador of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg, stationed in Athens, Conrad Bruch.
Presenting his credentials, Bruch said both the Republic of Cyprus itself and the European Union have gained a lot through the accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the European Union.
''It remains vital for the overall success of the European integration process that also the smaller member states can continue to make their voices heard and defend their rightful interests,'' he said.
The bilateral relations that exist between Luxembourg and the Republic of Cyprus are nothing short of excellent with numerous ties and contacts developing in the political and cultural fields, Bruch said, adding that existing cooperation in the cultural field can be extended to new areas. ''Our economic and commercial relations still yield much potential for further increase and improvement,'' he noted.
On the Cyprus issue, Bruch said the Government of Luxembourg continues to take a very strong interest in its resolution, as evidenced also during Luxembourg's EU Presidency in the first semester of 2005.
''Let me assure you that Luxembourg remains deeply concerned by the ongoing division of the Republic of Cyprus which clearly contradicts the guiding principles and the values of the European construction. The search for a solution to the Cyprus issue must remain very high on the international agenda,'' he noted.
He repeated the importance that Luxembourg attaches to supporting the efforts of the UN Secretary General to bring about a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem in line with relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the principles on which the EU is founded. ''A just and lasting settlement will contribute to peace, stability and harmonious relations in the region,'' he added.
Receiving Bruch's credentials, President Papadopoulos said Cyprus and Luxembourg maintain fruitful bilateral relations and belong to the same family of nations of the European Union of which Luxembourg has been a founding member.
President Papadopoulos said he was delighted to note ''we are already witnessing the steady enhancement of our bilateral cooperation in a multitude of fields.''
''In the political arena, an open and continuous dialogue is maintained at all levels, both in Brussels, as well as through consultations and exchange of visits at the highest level. On the bilateral level, I am gratified to confirm the mutual wish to see the relations between Luxembourg and Cyprus being further enhanced,'' he added.
On the Cyprus problem, President Papadopoulos said that ''despite our continuous and genuine efforts throughout the years to reach a viable settlement, the issue remains unresolved.''
He said the Greek Cypriot community rejected the latest proposed UN settlement plan in the referendum of April 2004 because it did not sufficiently address their legitimate concerns and, primarily, because it did not provide for true reunification of Cyprus, its people, society, economy and institutions.
''I formally reiterate my commitment to a solution of a bizonal, bicommunal federation that will bring about the reunification of our country and its people. We remain committed to working constructively for such a solution that will serve the legitimate interests of the people of Cyprus as a whole,'' he assured.
Regarding Turkey, he said Cyprus has been a strong supporter of Turkey's European perspective subject to the firm and strict condition that Turkey, on its side, will prove, in practical terms, its readiness and ability to perform its own obligations towards the European Union, its members and Cyprus.
''We consider it inconceivable that an applicant state for membership, like Turkey, would so provocatively refuse to recognise a full member of the Union, the Republic of Cyprus, and to insist on keeping its occupying troops in Cyprus, in perpetuity,'' he pointed out.
He added that ''nevertheless, it is our sincere belief that a 'European' Turkey will be to the benefit of all countries in the area, first and foremost its immediate neighbours.''
''The Republic of Cyprus will continue to cooperate within the framework of Turkey's accession negotiations; we sincerely hope that Turkey will rise to the challenge and, realising its resulting obligations, will prove to be a reliable partner throughout its accession process and later within the Union. We firmly believe that the prospect of membership should provide an incentive for Turkey to cooperate on finding a fair and just settlement on Cyprus, based on European principles and values,'' he concluded.