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EC President disappointed with pace of Turkey's EU efforts
2006-09-21 12:04:43

Nicosia, Sep 21 - European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has expressed disappointment at Turkey's progress in its efforts to join the EU.

Speaking in an interview with EuroNews, he called upon Turkey ''to understand that it must respect its obligations and commitments,'' pointing out an EU progress report on Turkey's accession course is due out next November.

''At the moment, we are not particularly encouraged by the news we are getting,'' Mr. Barroso says in the interview.

Referring to these obligations, he notes that amongst them are obligations deriving from the Ankara protocol, which guarantees ''the access of Cypriot ships into Turkish ports,'' and stresses that ''these are vessels of a member state.''

''At the start of November, we are going to bring out our report on the state of progress in negotiations with Turkey. What I can guarantee is that it will be an objective, honest and rigorous report,'' he notes.

Turkey, an EU candidate country, refuses to implement a Protocol extending the Ankara Agreement (Customs Union) to the ten new EU member states, which among others provides for the opening of Turkish ports and airports to Cypriot ships and airplanes.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

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