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Slovenian President urges Turkey to fulfill its EU obligations
2006-03-27 14:50:57

Nicosia, Mar 27(CNA) -- President of Slovenia Dr Janez Drnovsek has urged Turkey to comply with its European Union obligations and show that it can meet European standards.

In statements to the press after official talks with President of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos, Drnovsek, the first Slovenian President to pay Cyprus an official visit, noted that the Cyprus problem is no longer an issue that concerns only Cyprus, but also the European Union.

“I was informed by President of Cyprus about the Cyprus problem, which is no longer the problem of Cyprus but also a problem of the EU. Turkey should comply with its obligations and agreements that have been made already during the course of its approachment to the EU. We have to make efforts so that Turkey really shows it can meet European standards”, he said.

He added that “sometimes we have to be patient, it is not easy for them (Turkey). Everybody has had problems on this EU course, but certainly EU standards and objectives must be met and honored”, he stressed.

President Papadopoulos expressed the belief that negotiations on technical level on the Cyprus issue could start ''soon enough''.

“After our initiative in Paris the hope is that we will be able to start soon enough negotiations on technical level, on matters which will help create a better climate but equally important, that we shall be able to discuss the preparation of negotiations on the core issues of the Cyprus problem. The one process is interrelated to the other. I am hopeful that eventually Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots will consent to the convening of the technical committees and we expect the UN Secretary General to announce any such agreement”, President Papadopoulos stressed.

The Slovenian President expressed hope that “Cyprus at the end will be a constructive element, and not a problem that could divide, not only Cyprus itself but also EU and Turkey”.

He expressed the view that Cyprus “could be a challenge, an opportunity to show some responsibility, maturity, from the part of everybody, including Turkey”.

“I am optimistic and I hope that all parts, Cyprus but also Turkey, will be responsible and constructive so that at the end we will have a solution in the interest of everybody. We are all interested in stability, peace and prosperity here in Cyprus but also in Europe”, the Slovenian President added.

Answering a question about possible enhancement of their economic relations, the Slovenian President said that Cyprus and Slovenia, being the two economically best developed new EU members, can have a more enhanced economic cooperation.

“On political field we have a similar approach in EU issues and other issues. I expect that both countries will be constructive members within the EU”, Drnovsek added.

President Papadopoulos noted that Slovenia and Cyprus have always had good economic and political relations, adding that there is great room for better coordination in international fora, the EU, and that both heads of state will do their utmost so that their cooperation in different levels is enhanced and expanded.

During the official talks, delegations of Cyprus and Slovenia discussed their bilateral relations, their collaboration within the EU, as well as the Cyprus problem.

Before the statements to the press, President Papadopoulos decorated his Slovenian counterpart with the Grand Collar of the Order of Makarios III, which is the highest honorary distinction of the Republic of Cyprus.

The Slovenian President decorated President Papadopoulos with the Order for Exceptional Services, in the diplomatic and international field in recognition of his services in the development, in strengthening of friendly relations between Slovenia and Cyprus, for constructive cooperation and mutual support in the process of accession to the EU and his contribution towards establishing close cooperation in international organizations.

Upon his arrival to the Presidential Palace, Slovenian President laid a wreath at the statue of the first President of the Republic Archbishop Makarios III, where he was officially welcomed by President Papadopoulos in the presence of governmental officials.

Later on, Slovenian President had a meeting with President of the House of Representatives Demetris Christofias. No statements were made after the meeting.

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