FΜ outlines positions on direct trade to Finnish Ambassador
Nicosia, Jul 12 (CNA) - Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs George Lillikas clarified today to Finnish Ambassador in Nicosia Risto Piipponen the framework in which the government supports a European Union regulation on direct trade between the Union and the island's Turkish occupied areas and said that there would probably be some movement on the issue.
Speaking after a meeting with Piipponen and asked if EU discussions on Turkey's accession course would be moved to the end of the year, Lillikas said there were many ideas by various countries, adding that the Cypriot government had specific aims and was making efforts to gain allies.
Lillikas said that during his meeting with Piipponen they discussed matters of interest to the EU Finnish presidency, as well as issues concerning Cyprus, such as plans to reopen the Turkish occupied port and town of Famagusta, Turkey's EU accession course and the way discussions will be held within the EU after a Commission progress report on Turkey.
They also made preparations for the meeting Lillikas will be having in Brussels on July 18 with his Finnish counterpart.
Replying to questions about the regulation on direct trade with the Turkish Cypriots, Lillikas referred to the government's proposal, as well as the proposal formed during the Luxembourg presidency, and the commitment of the presidencies of Austria, Finland and Germany to promote this regulation in the framework agreed on.
He added that the Cypriot government has requested the involvement of European Commissioner for enlargement Olli Rehn.
Lillikas said Piipponen conveyed various other informal ideas given to the Finnish presidency and that he clarified to the Ambassador ''the framework in which the Cypriot government supports this regulation, on the basis of which principles, and which specific measures.''
''I believe there will be some movement. However, I am not in a position to know the result at this moment. We know that the return of the town of Famagusta, which is a fundamental precondition for us, cannot be imposed by the EU alone. The acceptance of Turkey is necessary,'' he added.
Asked if there were any considerations about moving the discussion on Turkey to the end of the year, Lillikas said ''there are many ideas'' and that ''every country, not only the EU members but others, have thoughts or place ideas on the table.''
''We have specific aims which we have discussed with the Greek government as well and it is towards these objectives that we work and in order to reach these goals we are having contacts and communication with other EU member states to gain allies,'' he added.