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Cypriot government satisfied with Eurlings report
2006-10-03 13:37:55

Nicosia, Sep 29 - The government of Cyprus is satisfied with the adoption by the majority of the European Parliament of the report on Turkey's progress towards EU accession, submitted by rapporteur Camiel Eurlings, noting that it underlines the ''self-evident responsibility of Ankara not only to implement its commitments towards Cyprus but also to promote the necessary internal reforms in Turkey.''

Speaking on Friday during his daily briefing, Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardis stressed that Ankara cannot escape from this responsibility, noting that ''Turkey can accede to the EU only through a smooth process and not violently invade it, just like it did in Cyprus.''

Mr. Pashiardis said the approval of the report is a ''positive development'' which is added to the general demand for Turkey's full compliance with its obligations and commitments undertaken towards the EU and consequently towards the Republic of Cyprus.''

''It is up to Turkey to decide whether it wants to remain a disobedient and annoying candidate country with all the consequences or whether it desires an unimpeded course towards Europe with the full implementation of its European obligations,'' Mr. Pashiardis added.

The Spokesman pointed out that the Republic of Cyprus supported and continues to support Turkey's EU course but ''will not support its arbitrary demand to be treated differently from other candidate states.''

''There are no special privileges and exclusive immunities for Turkey and it is committing a big mistake if it thinks it can proceed towards Europe, disregarding and bypassing rules and preconditions,'' the Spokesman said.

Asked if the Cypriot government will consent to the partial opening of Turkish ports or airports to Cypriot planes and vessels, the Spokesman said ''the only possibility is to consent to a full, unconditional implementation by Turkey of the commitments and obligations it has undertaken.''

To a question on thoughts by the Finnish Presidency of the EU on the implementation of the Additional Protocol of the Ankara Agreement as well as the issue of direct trade with the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus, Pashiardis said that ''Turkey's obligations and commitments towards the EU and subsequently the Republic of Cyprus are not associated with other issues and any political demands by Ankara, and surely fulfilling these obligations and commitments does not imply granting exchanges on our part towards Turkey.''

He said that as far as direct trade issue is concerned, there is the agreement dated 24 February 2006 by the EU which associates the issue with the return of Famagusta and the issue of Greek Cypriot properties as well as expanding the Green Line Regulation, something which is included in the Luxembourg presidency's proposal.

Mr. Pashiardis also expressed the government's readiness to participate in negotiations for an overall settlement, stressing that the government's proposal on Famagusta is still valid.

The Eurlings report was adopted on Wednesday by the European Parliament with 420 votes in favour, 71 against and 125 abstentions, calling on Turkey to take concrete steps for the normalisation of bilateral relations between Turkey and all EU member states, including the Republic of Cyprus, and to maintain a constructive attitude in finding a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus question.

The report notes the European Parliament ''seeks to work with the Turkish authorities to enable them to comply in full with their obligations in this respect without seeking to exacerbate domestic political tensions contrary to the interest of long-term reconciliation for Cyprus'' and furthermore ''regrets that Turkey maintains its veto against the participation of the Republic of Cyprus in international organisations and in multilateral agreements.''

It ''urges Turkey to take concrete steps for the normalisation of bilateral relations between Turkey and all EU member states, including the Republic of Cyprus, as soon as possible.''

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, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

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