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Cypriot FM satisfied with Paris meeting
2006-10-26 11:41:24

Larnaca, Oct 26 - Foreign Minister George Lillikas said he was particularly satisfied with a meeting in Paris with French Minister Delegate for European Affairs Catherine Colonna, adding that France supports the Finnish Presidency initiative to avert a crisis in EU-Turkey relations.

In statements at Larnaca airport today, the Foreign Minister also said that they discussed developments in Cyprus and Turkey’s relations with the EU.

Mr. Lillikas expressed the hope that Turkey will meet the obligations it has undertaken towards the 25 EU member states and stressed that it is not an end in itself for Cyprus to create a crisis in Turkey's relations with the EU.

Cyprus, he added, has not set out to interrupt Turkey’s EU accession negotiations, which will come under review in a Commission report, due in early November.

“We are interested to see Turkey stay on the EU track, bearing in mind that Ankara introduces the necessary reforms and meets its EU obligations. In such a case, we will support Turkey’s EU course”, the Minister also said.

Asked if he discussed France’s role in the EU Finnish Presidency efforts to keep Turkey's negotiations on course, Lillikas said that “France is certainly willing to support the Finnish presidency in this initiative”, adding that he has briefed Colonna about the government’s positions and the proposals it has made within the framework of ideas tabled by Finland.

Moreover, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopulos has warned that if Turkey shows lack of political will to implement its European obligations then a really serious problem in Turkey's relations with the European Union arises and there is a real possibility for the two trains to collide.

“We do not wish such a problem to be caused and such collision to occur. The responsibility, however, for the prevention of a crisis in the Euro-Turkish relations rests solely with Ankara,” he added.

“If Ankara is in no position to assume or fulfill this responsibility, surely no one is entitled to expect the Republic of Cyprus to pay any price due to the negative Turkish attitude, as no one, I believe, has a right to defend the unhindered continuation of Turkey's European course, without previously meeting its expressed obligations and commitments,” Mr. Papadopoulos also said.

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