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Spain wants Turkey to comply with EU obligations
2007-05-03 11:54:52

Nicosia, Apr 30 - Spain has expressed readiness to help UN efforts to find a negotiated settlement in Cyprus either by itself or through European Union channels. But Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, who was visiting Cyprus this week, also said that the European Council’s conclusions underline that acceding countries must be ready and able to fully assume the obligations of Union membership.

“The recent decision by the December GAERC meeting, while acknowledging the progress made by Turkey in approaching those criteria, sent a very strong message to the Turkish authorities on their need to meet those criteria by suspending negotiations on those eight chapters directly touching on Turkey’s non-compliance with the Ankara Protocol. Those conclusions also foresee that none of the other chapters will be officially closed either,” Mr. Moratinos also stressed.

Asked about Spain’s willingness to assist further, and in a more practical manner efforts to find a negotiated settlement in Cyprus, bearing in mind his former capacity as EU envoy for the Middle East, he said: “My experience as EU envoy taught me the importance of painstaking and patient negotiations, the need to pay attention to details and, most importantly, how human and economic contacts can create much better dynamics.”

The Spanish Minister also welcomed the removal of the Ledra street wall as “a step of great symbolic importance” and expressed hope that it could lead to a better negotiation climate and eventually to end the physical division of Nicosia.

In a unilateral move, the government of Cyprus demolished in early March the wall dividing one of Nicosia’s main commercial streets, Ledra, in a bid to facilitate efforts to open a crossing point there, provided the Turkish military in the area withdrew its troops from there to allow free and unhindered passage to all Cypriots.

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