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Cyprus government brings up again proposals for Famagusta port and two-way trade
2006-01-26 12:09:04

Nicosia, Jan 26 -- The Cyprus government has brought forward again its proposals for Famagusta port and two-way trade between the two sides in Cyprus, following the submission on Tuesday of the Turkish proposal presented by Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul.

Cyprus Government spokesman George Lillikas told reporters: “We surely bring forward both issues because we believe that with the return of Famagusta to its lawful inhabitants and the joint management of the Famagusta port with the Turkish Cypriot community, bridges of economic cooperation and trade cooperation are built and a positive climate is created for the common opinion which will be helpful for the undertaking of a new initiative.”

Mr. Lillikas also stressed that "the creation of common interests between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and even of common problems can be helpful for a solution that will reunite Cyprus."

“On the contrary the development of direct trade or the political upgrade of the pseudostate, the opening of illegal airports and ports at the occupied areas leads to the development of separate economic interests between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, and this cannot but reinforce those who want a divisive settlement for Cyprus,” he added.

Mr. Lillikas also said that the undertaking of an initiative by the UN has to be made to create common ground so that when the two sides are invited to dialogue there will be preconditions or prospects for this dialogue to reach an agreed solution.

Invited to comment on reactions by the EU, the US and the UN to the Turkish proposals, Lillikas said that “we deem that no one has so far adopted Mr. Gul’s proposals.”

He said the Cyprus government has received assurances by his EU partners that their stance as regards the Cyprus question remains unchanged.

"Our belief is that those interested sincerely in contributing to efforts for a new procedure that will lead to a settlement that will really reunite our country and will not lead to the division of Cyprus must work and support proposals and ideas that will create bridges of cooperation and exchanges between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and not support ideas and proposals who lead to the upgrade of the pseudostate or to the development of separate interests,” he noted.

A press release, dated 25 January 2006, underlining the government's stance on Turkey's recent proposals follows, together with a detailed aide memoire:

Cyprus Government’s Positions on Turkish Proposals of 24th January 2006

WASHINGTON, DC (January 25, 2006) – The Cyprus government has repeatedly stated that it is ready and willing to engage in meaningful and substantive negotiations aiming towards a viable and comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem.

In this context, it considers Tuesday’s (January 24, 2006) proposals by Turkish Foreign Minister, Mr. Abdullah Gul, as nothing new but a repeated attempt by Ankara to evade its obligations towards the European Union regarding Cyprus.

The Cyprus government believes that the latest Turkish proposal does not aim towards a comprehensive settlement in accordance with the UNSC Resolutions and the principles upon which the EU is founded. The very fact that it was presented on a “take it or leave it” basis for “eliminating restrictions on both sides” indicates Turkey’s true intentions. That is political upgrading of the illegal regime in the Turkish-occupied area of Cyprus.

The Cyprus government reiterates the August 2004 proposal by President Tassos Papadopoulos concerning the Varosha region and the Famagusta port, which has been repeatedly rejected by Ankara and the Turkish Cypriot leadership. The government specifically underlines its support to the understanding reached with the European Commission in December 2005, involving the opening of the Famagusta port under EU auspices, the return of the Varosha region to its lawful inhabitants, and a moratorium on the exploitation of properties belonging to Greek Cypriot refugees from the occupied area.

In addition, the Cyprus government remains committed to the full implementation of the “Green Line” regulation, which allows trade of products within the island and exports of Turkish Cypriot goods through the legal ports and airports of the Republic of Cyprus, and urges Ankara to lift the obstacles it creates for a two-way trade between the two communities.

The Turkish side should address the essence of the Cyprus problem, which is the island’s reunification through an agreed settlement, and not pursue opposite goals by offering proposals which lead to the island’s permanent division.

Please find attached hereto a detailed Aide Memoire regarding the views of the Cyprus government to the latest Turkish proposals.


AIDE MEMOIRE

A Position of the Cyprus Government on Turkish Proposals of 24 January 2006


The Government of the Republic of Cyprus utterly rejects Mr. Abdullah Gul’s proposal which is nothing new but a futile attempt by Turkey to evade its obligations under the Association Agreement and its Additional Protocol extending the Association Agreement to all new EU member states.

The Turkish Minister repeats his proposals of 30 May 2005, which have already been rejected. The only new element in the proposal is a provision for a quadripartite meeting under the auspices of the UN. The idea of quadripartite conference, which has been a long term objective of the Turkish foreign policy, cannot be accepted. In a quadripartite conference, in essence, the governments of the Republic of Cyprus, Turkey and Greece will be participating along with the representatives of the Turkish Cypriot Community. The Turkish policy aims to downgrade the status of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus and equate it with that of the Turkish Cypriot Community. It aims to upgrade the status of the secessionist entity short of recognition, which the Turkish side neither needs nor wants since it will deprive Turkish Cypriots of the benefits deriving from Cyprus’ accession to the EU.

In addition, Mr. Gul attempts to render legitimacy to the secessionist entity and grant to it governmental functions such as control of ports and airports in contravention to UNSC Resolutions, in particular 541/83 and 550/84 and relevant international conventions.

Under international law, every State has, as a matter of sovereignty, the indisputable right to determine which of its ports and airports are open and functioning, as well as to define the terms of operation and access for these ports and airports. In exercising its sovereignty the Republic of Cyprus has declared closed to international traffic its ports in Kyrenia, Famagusta and Karavostasi and has not designated any airports in the occupied areas of Cyprus as open and functioning since 1974. The Government of the Republic of Cyprus has undertaken specific legal obligations towards the international community and the EU, which she must at all times fulfill, especially on the safety of shipping, customs, transboundary international crime, security, illegal immigration, narcotic drugs trafficking and terrorism. Moreover opening ports and airports in the occupied part of Cyprus will remove any incentive for Turkey and the secessionist regime to work seriously and constructively for the reunification of the island.

Turkey through the proposals of Mr. Gul seeks to gain additional benefits despite the fact that the EU and its members states “expect from [Turkey] full, not discriminatory implementation of the Additional Protocol and the removal of all obstacles to the free movement of goods, including restriction of means of transport”.

Mr. Oli Rehn, Member of the European Commission, responsible for Enlargement during the meeting of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee in Brussels, on the 23rd of November 2005, stated the following: “By opening accession negotiations, the EU kept its word and respected its commitment. Now we expect Turkey to honor its commitments; to begin with, as mentioned in the Accession Partnership, Turkey must ensure the implementation of commitments undertaken under the Association Agreement, including the customs union. This applies, in particular, to the crucial issue of the ratification and full implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Ankara Agreement, including the lifting of restrictions on Cypriot vessels docking at Turkish ports”.

Mr. Gul tries to involve the UN Secretary General and the UN Security Council in an issue which concerns obligations by Turkey towards the European Union. The UN has no role in this issue. The SG is mandated by the UNSC for a mission of good offices for finding a Cyprus settlement through negotiations between the two communities on the island. The UN should not be drawn on an issue involving Turkey’s responsibilities to the EU.

The Cyprus Government remains committed to the full implementation of the “Green Line” Regulation, which allows trade of products within the island and exports of T/C products through the legal ports and airports of the Republic of Cyprus. The Government of the Republic of Cyprus urges the Turkish side to lift the obstacles it created for a two-way trade between the two Communities.

The Cyprus Government has shown its good will through the proposal of President Papadopoulos since August 2004 concerning Varosha. Moreover, the Government of Cyprus has accepted the compromise proposed by the Luxembourg Presidency last June and reiterates its support to the understanding reached with the Commission last December, involving the opening of the Famagusta port, under EU auspices, the return of Varosha to is lawful inhabitants and a moratorium on the exploitation of GC properties in the occupied areas of the Republic.

The Cyprus Government expects the EU and its member states to remind Turkey of its unconditional obligations for the implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Ankara Agreement and for the immediate removal of all restrictions on Cyprus flagged vessels and vessels serving the Cyprus trade, as well as lifting of all discriminatory measures against member states’ carriers on the basis of their nationality. The EU should also remind Turkey of the need to undertake steps towards normalization of bilateral relations between Turkey and Cyprus, as called for in the Accession Partnership.

Finally, the Cyprus Government reiterated its willingness to engage, following thorough preparation of the ground, in meaningful and substantive negotiations, without arbitration and strict deadlines, in order to reach a comprehensive settlement in accordance with the UNSC Resolutions and the principles upon which the EU is founded.


25 January, 2006.

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