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Cyprus FM: We don't want a crisis in EU-Turkish relations
2006-10-19 11:43:05

Brussels, Oct 17 - Cyprus Foreign Minister George Lillikas has said that Cyprus does not want a crisis in the relations between Turkey and the European Union, stressing however that Cyprus will not give its consent so that Turkey can gain benefits at the expense of Nicosia.

Mr. Lillikas was speaking after a meeting with his Finnish counterpart, Mr. Erkki Tuomioja, whose country holds the EU rotating Presidency, on the sidelines of the EU General Affairs Council in Luxemburg this week. Mr. Lillikas and Mr. Tuomioja discussed Turkey's EU bid and the Presidency's formula to avert a crisis in view of the progress report on Turkey's accession talks to be issued on November 8 by the European Commission.

The Cypriot government does not desire a crisis because it has nothing to gain from a 'train derailment', that is the derailment Turkey's accession course, Mr. Lillikas said, adding however that Nicosia we give its consent so that Turkey can gain benefits at Cyprus' expense.

According to reports, the Finnish formula provides for the opening of the Turkish occupied port of Famagusta under EU administration for 24 months, in combination with the opening of Turkish ports to ships carrying the Cypriot flag and the transfer of the closed city to the UN.

''The formula remains in the well known framework. The Presidency has not incorporated any new elements, while it desires result soon,'' Mr. Lillikas said replying to a question, adding that ''my feeling is that the Presidency is not pessimistic and that it insists to the elements of its formula.''

As regards the Turkish stance to the Finnish formula, the Cypriot FM said that ''we have signs that the Turkish side discusses the formula, adding however that ''the fact that Ankara is discussing it does not mean it accepts or rejects the formula.''

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

Turkey, a country aspiring to become an EU member state, does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus and refuses to implement the EU-Turkey Customs Union Protocol, by opening its ports and airports to Cyprus.

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