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Britain tells Turkey to meet all EU requirements
2006-12-21 07:55:48

London, Dec 20 - Turkey must meet all the requirements and obligations of membership before joining the European Union, British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett has said.

In a post-European Council statement to the House of Commons, Ms. Beckett said: “No-one is in any doubt that Turkey must meet all the requirements and obligations of membership before joining the European Union.” She added: “A European Union with Turkey as a member will be stronger, richer and more secure.”

Furthermore, British Minister of State for Europe Geoff Hoon has said that Turkey's compliance with its EU obligations ''is a priority issue for the European Union as well as for Cyprus.''

''The Brussels outcome is good for Europe as a whole. Also, it is important for Turkey’s continuous engagement and the search for a settlement,'' the British official noted. He was speaking at a dinner hosted for him by the National Federation of Cypriots.

''We want a settlement so that Cyprus can become an even more successful country,'' Mr. Hoon said, adding that the UN process is the only real hope for a comprehensive and durable settlement.''

According to Mr. Hoon ''it is essential for every one to live up to their commitments and begin the process of implementing the 8th of July agreement. What is needed is to get the mutual trust necessary to allow the negotiations to begin soon.''

He also said: ''It is important to find a way forward to reunite the island of Cyprus and all its people. We have a strategic opportunity with Turkey’s desire to join the EU. All of us to work together to bring about that settlement on the island that we all want to see.''

The EU General Affairs Council agreed unanimously on Dec 11 to sanction Turkey for failing to respect its obligations to the Union by freezing eight chapters of the acquis communautaire. EU leaders endorsed this decision last Friday.

Turkey, a country aspiring to enter the EU, refuses to implement the Customs Union Protocol by opening its ports and airports to Cyprus.

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