Greece and Cyprus say Papadopoulos-Talat agreement a positive step
by Christa Nicolaou
Athens, Jul 10 (CNA) -- Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos described here today the agreement achieved during Saturday's meeting between President Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat in the presence of UN Undersecretary General for political affairs Ibrahim Gambari as a positive step.
President Papadopoulos, who is paying a two-day visit to Athens, met here today with Karamanlis and assessed the developments in Cyprus, after Gambari's tour in the region and Saturday's agreement with Talat on the technical committees.
''The agreement reached is a positive step towards the implementation of the Paris agreement with the UN Secretary General and we hope that out of the prescribed talks certain results, both on the substantive issues and on the day-to-day issues will emerge,'' Karamanlis said in statements after the meeting.
The Greek Premier reiterated that ''a new effort for a (Cyprus) solution must be well prepared, without arbitration, without suffocating timeframes and the solution must be based on the UN relevant decisions and take into consideration the new reality of Cyprus' accession to the EU.''
President Papadopoulos expressed hope that ''this first positive step will be followed by others so that we will be able to start a new round of talks with better preparation, aiming at reaching a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.''
Furthermore, Karamanlis and Papadopoulos discussed the situation in the European Union in view of October, when the European Commission will issue a progress report on Turkey's EU bid.
''We discussed our next actions within the EU,'' Karamanlis said, adding that ''our position as well as that of the other (EU) partners is well-known, Turkey's EU course depends on its full compliance with all the criteria and prerequisites set out before her, including the negotiating framework, the partnership agreement, as well as the specific preconditions, ratified by the EU statement of September 2005.''
Replying to a question whether the Republic of Cyprus is ready to exercise its right to veto in case Turkey requests a postponement of the implementation of the protocol amending the Ankara agreement (Customs Union with the EU), President Papadopoulos said that the handling is such so as not to lead to a crisis, which would create the need for such decisions.
''It is too premature,'' he added, noting that if there was a decision for a veto it would not be announced in advance.
Noting that the Commission will submit its report on Turkey's obligations, the Cypriot President said that ''suggestions on the way the EU will deal with the issue will be submitted.''
Karamanlis reiterated that ''Turkey has a specific contract with the EU, which provides for a series of criteria, prerequisites and commitments, which must be fulfilled.''
Replying to a comment that Nicosia's view is that the developments on the Cyprus problem are separate from Turkey's EU obligations, Karamanlis said that the Cyprus problem is a totally different mater ''from the EU procedures and therefore there is no need for any confusion or connection.''
''Turkey has assumed a series of commitments and must fulfill them and in cooperation with our partners we will see the next steps in relation with Turkey's behaviour,'' Karamanlis added.