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Greek FM: Issues of substance and routine should be discussed at committees
2006-04-05 12:16:50

Nicosia, Apr 5 (CNA) – Greece’s Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyiannis, said it is very important that during the discussion of the committees agreed in Paris by Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos and UN Chief Kofi Annan, it is important that routine issues as well as issues of substance should be discussed.

She was speaking after talks here Wednesday with her Cypriot counterpart George Iacovou, where she added that the new momentum on Cyprus should be supported so the new opportunity is not lost.

Welcoming Bakoyiannis, Iacovou said that “we have come to the common conclusion that after the Paris meeting between President Papadopoulos and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, a new climate prevails and there is an expectation from many capitals that there will soon be developments”.

''We call on Turkey to accept what is foreseen in the Paris statement and to come forward to the technical committees”, Iacovou added.

The Cypriot minister said that during their discussions they examined Turkey’s European course, noting both Greece and Cyprus supported this course. ''However, Turkey has undertaken commitments towards the 25. And there will be no concessions on these commitments”, Iacovou stressed.

He also said the two countries discussed the wider EU enlargement, the situation in the western Balkans “where both countries have a great interest and concern” adding that Bakoyiannis’ visit on the island will benefit our pursuits in Europe and elsewhere.

Bakoyiannis said that they achieved close and effective coordination on these issues which will be dealt with by the next Foreign Ministers’ councils.

The Greek FM described the discussions as “extremely productive and substantial”, adding that they agreed over the new momentum on Cyprus “and this effort should be supported so we do not lose the new opportunity as it appears”.

Bakoyiannis said “I would like to reiterate that Greece believes and has supported Turkey’s European course. It will be important for Turkey itself but mainly for the Turkish people to live in a modern, European democracy. It is also important for Turkey to accept and fulfill its obligations towards Europe and accept the acquis communautaire”.

To a question on the Annan Plan and whether the plan is not considered anymore by Athens as a basis for negotiations, Bakoyiannis replied that “the Annan Plan as it was proposed and voted against by the people of Cyprus, is history. A new agreed proposal for a solution that will be tabled again before a referendum to the people of Cyprus, should be based on decisions taken by the UN, the work carried by the UN because 9.500 thousand pages of work should not be thrown away, and at the same time the new reality should be taken into consideration. Cyprus is a member of the EU the last two years. It is a new reality and any effort should take into consideration these three points I have mentioned”, she said.

To a question on Turkey’s EU obligations, Iacovou said that Turkey has undertaken several commitments, underlying that “these issues cannot be negotiated again”.

He explained that as chapters will slowly open in accession negotiations, obstacles are beginning to arise which have nothing to do with Cyprus. “My view is that it is too early to draw any conclusions on Turkey’s future course. There is still a long time. We are more concerned with what is going to happen towards the end of the year regarding the implementation of Turkey’s commitments towards the 25 on Cyprus affairs”, he stressed.

Asked about the procedure agreed in the Paris meeting between President Papadopoulos and UN Secretary-General Annan and whether there is an urge that only routine issues should be examined during the discussion of the committees that will deal with technical matters and issues of substance to follow after, Bakoyiannis said “I want to stress that I was never approached to be exhorted”.

“I believe that it is very important for Cyprus and also for the substance…that technical issues as well as issues of substance should be discussed and this will be an important step in further formulating proposals for a Cyprus settlement”, she added.

Bakoyiannis said this is what she ascertained from her contacts with the international community and the US.

Asked what will happen to Turkey if it does not fulfill its obligations towards the EU, Bakoyiannis reminded the statement made by Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn when he visited Athens recently who was very clear, that Turkey has undertaken a commitment to implement the Ankara Protocol. “This is what the EU is expecting from Turkey. It is therefore important for this aim to be achieved, that Turkey comes closer to the EU”, Bakoyiannis said, reminding that the EU has not drawn up these rules especially for Turkey.

“The acquis is valid for all countries which are members or want to be members of the EU. Therefore all countries should accept these principles”, she added.

To a question whether Turkey’s violations of the Greek airspace and statements by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan concern the Greek government, Bakoyiannis said “it does not concern solely Greece but also the whole of the EU''.

The Greek FM said she was optimistic that there the forces which are pro-European in Turkey will prevail adding “I hope that this will be the end result”.

Earlier Wednesday, Bakoyiannis visited the Makedonitissa Tomb in Nicosia, where army officers and soldiers killed during the 1974 Turkish invasion are buried as well as the area the tombs of heroes who fought against British colonial rule which are situated in the Central Prisons’ compound.

In statements, Bakoyiannis said she was deeply moved to witness these sites which show that the fight should go on for a “final justification of the people of Cyprus”.

She wrote in the visitors’ book that “Cyprus, an independent and European country, still has a great aim, the fair and viable solution and we will fight for it”.

Bakoyiannis also visited the National Guard headquarters.

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