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British official calls on Turkey to accept its EU obligations
2006-11-02 12:09:35

London, Nov 1 - British Minister of State for Europe Geoff Hoon said Britain expects Turkey to accept its obligations under EU law.

He was speaking after a meeting in London with Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs George Lillikas.

Mr. Hoon also said that the two ministers have built up ''a very good relationship'' and that ''we are able to discuss many issues about the bilateral relationship between the two countries as well as issues affecting the EU and Turkey.''

Answering a question about how Britain can help towards Turkey complying with its EU obligations and also on the initiative of the Finnish EU presidency to be promoted to a successful conclusion, he said: ''We made clear to Turkey and I said many times in public that we expect Turkey to accept its obligations under EU law. However, the conditions under which this will be done is subject to the Finnish presidency proposals that we have been trying to help with.''

Mr. Hoon then stressed that it is ''important that we find a way through these present difficulties'' and that ''all countries coming into the EU have to accept the basic principles of the Union.''

Asked if the two sides touched upon the issue of the presence of the British Bases in Cyprus, Mr. Hoon replied positively, noting that during the time he had served as Defence Secretary he regularly visited the Bases.

''There are matters of mutual concern. Our friendship is strong enough so that we are able to have that kind of conversation. And we are going on to have further discussions on the subject,'' he noted.

Mr. Lillikas described the meeting as ''constructive,'' noting that Cyprus and the UK ''have close relations, political, trade and other relations.''

''It is in the interest of the two countries to develop further these relations. Today we had a good start, I believe, and very soon we will continue in Cyprus or elsewhere,'' he added.

The Finnish Presidency of the EU is conducting negotiations to reach an agreement in order to prevent a crisis between the EU and Turkey in view of the European Commission's progress report on Turkey's accession negotiations expected to be issued on 8 November.

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