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Very important that Turkey meets EU obligations, says British minister
2006-09-14 11:19:53

Athens, Sep 12 -- It is very important that Turkey meets its EU obligations, since this is one of the fundamental criteria for accession to the Union, British Minister for Europe Geoffrey Hoon said in Athens after a meeting with Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Dora Bakoyiannis.

''We want to see Turkey accepting its obligations under the EU law. A long time ago I was a European lawyer and I think it is very important that Turkey should satisfy its obligations. That is a basic criterion for the EU,'' Mr. Hoon also said.

Their meeting focused mainly on Turkey's refusal to meet its EU obligations, which are a necessary component for accession to the Union.

Mrs. Bakoyiannis urged Turkey not to diminish the strong skepticism in many European countries regarding its pace of response in meeting its commitments.

Referring to the Cyprus problem, Mrs. Bakoyiannis expressed hope that the Turkish Cypriot side would show a constructive mood so that progress can be achieved at the bicommunal discussions that begun in order to implement the July 8 agreement between the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities.

She noted with regret that the discussions do not seem to move forward due to the Turkish Cypriot stance and urged the Turkish Cypriot side to stop being ''enclaved in its intransigent tactics.''

Mr. Hoon noted himself that they discussed a number of issues of bilateral concern, noting that both countries are close partners and work together in the EU.

''The issue of Turkey obviously is one matter important to both countries. I have just come from Ankara where I had some important conversations,'' he said.

Asked whether after his meetings in Turkey he is more optimistic that Turkey will implement the EU-Turkey Customs Union Protocol, he also said ''I am always optimistic but if you are a Foreign Minister you have to be optimistic.''

''Obviously there are some real issues that have to be resolved. We want to see Turkey accept its obligations under the EU law,'' he added.

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