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Occupied Famagusta port should open with simultaneous return of lawful inhabitants
2007-02-08 10:55:00

Nicosia, Feb 7 - Cyprus Foreign Minister Yiorgos Lillikas has said that if there is a possibility of opening the Turkish occupied port of Famagusta, this should ''always be in conjunction with the return of the legitimate inhabitants of the fenced city of Famagusta.'' He also stressed that ''there is a binding decision and commitment by the EU's COREPER that this is a package.''

Mr. Lillikas, who was speaking before the House European Affairs Committee in Nicosia, further noted that the Republic of Cyprus has ''many points to raise'' which are ''unshakable'' in relation to EU member states' efforts to adopt a clause on trade between the island's Turkish occupied area and the EU.

He then stressed that after the failure of previous EU presidencies regarding the regulation for trade with the Turkish Cypriots, Cyprus took the initiative to ask the current German presidency to push forward the issue from where it was left off by the previous presidency and consultations are underway.

The Minister noted that the joint commitment of both sides is not to make any statements about the meetings or the amendments discussed or the positions submitted by each side.

''The EU, the European Commission and some EU member states will insist on the trade clause,'' Mr. Lillikas also said before adding that ''the clause was introduced after an intense discussion and the insistence of a specific Minister of Foreign Affairs of a specific country, which was not innocent.''

He also pointed out that ''if we are to be sincere, the EU countries, all 27 of them, which are bound by a decision that says that the solution of the Cyprus problem will be on the basis of EU principles and reunification, then no one can pursue direct trade between the occupied areas and the EU.''

''Those developing or trying to develop separate interests, with mathematical accuracy are leading to the division of Cyprus,'' he added.

Referring to the Ankara Protocol, Mr. Lillikas said the Turkish Cypriots told Brussels that when the Turkish ports and airports open to Cypriot ships and airplanes, then Turkey will not be able to use ports and airports in the occupied areas of Cyprus and trade will be transferred to the Government-controlled area.

''If the Turkish Cypriots really want reunification, they should not be concerned with such issues, because the proposal we have made for Larnaca Port is much more beneficial for them,'' he pointed out.

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