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Greek FM Dora Bakoyiannis says Cyprus settlement top priority
2006-07-29 11:52:00

Athens, Jul 29 -- Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Dora Bakoyiannis said that the solution of the Cyprus problem remains the main objective of Athens' policy, and that the reunification of the island with a just, viable and functional settlement will be to the benefit of all, including the stability, peace and prosperity of the region.

She added: "we have repeatedly stressed that a solution should be based on relevant decisions of the UN, the work which was carried out so far by the UN Secretary General and the new reality with the Republic of Cyprus' accession to the EU.''

The recent agreement between President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, under the auspices of UN Undersecretary General for political affairs Ibrahim Gambari, was regarded by the Greek Foreign Minister as a positive and encouraging development towards the implementation of what was agreed in Paris between President Papadopoulos and UN Chief Kofi Annan.

''We want the (technical) committees to produce specific results both on day-to-day issues and also on issues of substance,'' Bakoyiannis said, adding that regarding the regulation for so called direct trade with the occupied areas of Cyprus, ''we believe that the Cypriot proposal on Famagusta constitutes the best possible solution because such a solution would lead to a substantial improvement of the climate on the island and bring the two communities closer.''

Ms. Bakoyiannis explained the ''clear and proven significance of Cyprus as part of the EU'' during all her talks she had after the crisis in Lebanon.

''Cyprus has proved to be an oasis of peace, stability and effectiveness in the critical area of the Eastern Mediterranean,'' she said, adding that the latest developments add to the arguments of Greece and Cyprus for a speedy, final and just solution of the problem.

Ms. Bakoyiannis also referred to Turkey's EU course, pointing out that that there are "no blank checks," adding that autumn is a very critical period during which Turkey will be evaluated by the Union for its implementation of the obligations it has undertaken towards the EU.

"I hope that even at the last moment, Turkey will carry out all necessary actions that will allow the Union to constructively continue the road of negotiations with Turkey," she said, noting that the governments of Cyprus and Greece are in communication with the EU and the Commission to handle any further developments in the best possible way.

Turkey has to adapt the Ankara Agreement and extend its customs union to include all ten new EU member states, including the Republic of Cyprus, which Ankara does not recognize.

To date, Turkey has refused to open its ports and airports to Cypriot vessels and aircraft, in spite of repeated appeals and warnings from Brussels.

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