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US Secretary Rice: Turkey to do what it must on outstanding Cyprus issues
2006-04-25 16:31:02

Athens, Apr 25 - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Tuesday that the US encourages Turkey to do what it must on the outstanding Cyprus issues.

She said that during talks in Athens with her Greek counterpart Dora Bakoyiannis, they ?discussed the need for a resolution of the situation in Cyprus?, noting it is ?something that has gone on far too long, and we would hope that the elements for a Cyprus resolution might come into being?. She also said they discussed what ?some of these elements might be?.

Asked whether she believes Turkey can continue to have a European course with an unresolved Cyprus problem and the fact that it does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member state as well as keeping its ports and airports close to Cypriot planes and ships, Secretary Rice replied:

"We believe that Turkey should accede to the EU. We know that there are requirements that need to be met, and we have engaged both Europe and Turkey to encourage, we are not members of the EU, we don?t have a veto, but we have encouraged that union take place because Turkey is a European country and should have this European perspective?.

The US Secretary of State acknowledged that ?there is considerable work that remains to be done, and of course issues concerning Cyprus are among the work that needs to be done?.

On her part, Ms. Bakoyiannis said Greece?s firm aim is to achieve a just, viable and functional solution on Cyprus.

She also said that recently, a dynamic has developed which everyone must make use of, adding that ?we must create the preconditions to start a new effort, within the UN framework, offering significant guarantees that it will be successful?.

?I believe no one can take another failure?, said Ms. Bakoyiannis, pointing out that Greece is working constantly with the Republic of Cyprus ?in a substantial and decisive manner?.

In the meantime, Britain continues to encourage Turkey to fulfill the requirements related to the Ankara Protocol, extending its customs union with the EU to the ten new member states, including the Republic of Cyprus.

Asked how the British government comments on reports that London and Washington are examining ways to submit a proposal according to which the EU decision for the implementation of the Protocol on behalf of Turkey would be postponed for a year, a Foreign Office spokesperson said ''we continue to encourage Turkey to fulfill their requirements related to the Protocol.''

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