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Estonian PM: Turkey has to open its ports to Cyprus
2006-10-25 15:53:12

Nicosia, Oct 24 -- It is unbelievable that there will be some European Union members which will not recognize others inside the EU, Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip has said, stressing that “Turkey has to open its sea ports to Cyprus”.

Ansip, during an official visit to Cyprus, was speaking to the press after talks with Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, who said that they discussed a number of issues concerning the Middle East, EU enlargement and the Cyprus problem.

The Estonian PM noted that on the main issues they have similar approach and share a common belief that EU member states, especially smaller ones, should show solidarity and cooperation within the Union.

Asked about Turkey’s stance not to extend the customs union protocol to cover Cyprus, Ansip said “all the candidates have to fulfill all the criteria and all the member states have to recognize each other. It is unbelievable that there will be some member states which will not recognize others inside the EU. Turkey has to open its sea ports to Cyprus also.”

President Papadopoulos welcomed the Estonian Prime Minister, noting that “Estonia and Cyprus have always had very good relations”.

He said both feel that there is a lot of room for improving bilateral elations, adding that “we are going to try and do that”. He further stressed that bilateral relations are in a very good shape “but we cannot put these good relations somewhere in storage.”

The Estonian PM said that “small member states in the EU have to cooperate, support each other, understand all the problems engaged with those small member states. I am happy that today we had the possibility to talk about very important problems engaged with the EU and then engaged with our countries, here in Cyprus."

He said Estonia would like to see a very stron EU and added: "that is why we would like to continue with the ratification process of the Constitutional Treaty. We are absolutely sure that the Constitutional Treaty will make the EU stronger and we would like to go on with the ratification process.”

Mr. Ansip said “we would like to go on with the enlargement process of the EU also,” adding that all the states in Europe have to have the possibility to join the EU.

He added that at the same time all the candidates have to fulfill all the criteria.

Mr. Ansip also noted that Estonia would like to join the Eurozone as of January 1st 2008 as Cyprus but it faces a problem with its inflation rate.

“This is not the case here in Cyprus but this is a problem in Estonia where growth rate is quite high near 12% and when economy is growing 12% per year you cannot expect to have inflation rate near 2%. I hope Cyprus will join the Eurozone from 1st of January 2008 and then will support us to join the Eurozone,” he added. Turkey, a country aspiring to become an EU member, does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member since May 2004. Furthermore, Ankara continues to occupy Cyprus' northern part since its troops invaded in the summer of 1974.

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