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FM: EU has two weeks to exhaust efforts for Turkey to meet EU obligations
2006-11-16 10:19:02

Brussels, Nov 13 - The Finnish EU presidency pledged Monday that until the end of the month it would exhaust all efforts regarding its initiative to avert an EU – Turkey crisis, so that Turkey meets its EU obligations, by opening its ports and airports for Cypriot vessels and aircrafts.

Cyprus Foreign Minister Yiorgos Lillikas, who attended the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council said that the EU presidency, responding to the position of many EU countries, committed itself that within two weeks it would conclude its efforts regarding its initiative.

“We hope that the initiative will bring positive results within the framework that has been determined. If not, then the Commission must begin a discussion to be followed by other discussions on political level by the EU 25 regarding a plan B”, he noted.

According to Mr. Lillikas, Cyprus shares the general impression among the EU 25 that a discussion should start the soonest possible on the political level, regarding Turkey’s obligations.

The main aim, he also said, should be the good preparation of the December European Council conclusions so that efforts to reach a common position by the EU 25 are ahead of time.

This is the only way, he said, to avoid Turkey’s issue to monopolize the December European Council, as has been the case in the past.

Asked whether the Finnish EU presidency would call for proximity talks, Lillikas said that according to his knowledge, the Finnish do not plan such a procedure for obvious reasons.

“Since Turkey does not wish to participate, then during the coming two weeks, there would be some meetings and contacts like the ones before the 5th and 6th of November”, he added.

“We can not agree to suspend relevant chapters as this is not a sanction and it has no relevant effect. In this framework, we are ready to negotiate”, he said.

In 1974 Turkish troops invaded Cyprus and since then occupy one third of the island’s territory.

Cyprus is a member of the EU since May 2004.

Turkey, aspiring to become an EU member state refuses to implement the Customs Union protocol by opening its ports and airports to Cyprus.

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