Declaration adopted by the 15 Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the E.U. at the last General Affairs Council on 15.7.96

Brussels, 15 July 1996
SN 3543/96


i. Council Declaration

The European Union has followed with serious concern the situation that has emerged as a consequence of the issue raised by Turkey concerning the Imia Islets.

The resulting frictions involve, on the one hand, a Member State with which a natural solidarity exists and, on the other hand, a neighbouring country with which the European Community wishes to develop further a relationship of dialogue and cooperation in all the fields resulting from the Customs Union.

The Council recalls its attachment to the development of good neighbourly relations among all countries of the region. In this context, the Council recalls that relations between Turkey and the European Union have to be based on a clear commitment to the principle of respect for international law and agreements, the relevant international practice, and the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the Member States and of Turkey.

The Council considers that disputes should be settled solely on the basis of international law. Therefore, the Council calls for restraint and avoidance of any action liable to increase tensions, and specifically the use or threat of force, and considers appropriate that dialogue should be pursued along the lines which have emerged in previous contacts between the interested parties which may contribute to the improvement of bilateral relations as well as to the establishment of a crisis prevention mechanism.

The Council further underlines that the cases of disputes created by territorial claims, such as the Imia Islet issue, should be submitted to the International Court of Justice.

The Council requests the Presidency to invite Turkey to indicate whether she commits herself to the aforementioned principles.

ii. Commission Declaration

The Commission declares that the adoption of the MEDA Regulation opens the way for the practical implementation once the Regulation has been published in the Official Journal.

It is however not to be expected that any formal financing decisions will be adopted before the second week of September.