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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-12-22

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Cyprus should enter EU with or without solution, says Euro MP

  • 0800:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Cyprus should enter EU with or without solution, says Euro MP

    Nicosia, Dec 22 (CNA) -- The European Union (EU) member-states should let Cyprus join the group with or without a solution to the Cyprus problem. Turkey cannot have a veto on the island's membership.

    This was stressed here by Dutch Euro MP Jan-Willem Bertens, Rapporteur of the European Parliament on the accession of Cyprus to the EU.

    He told a Saturday night gathering organised by the Research and Development Centre - Intercollege, in Nicosia, that unlike all the other candidates, Cyprus fulfils both the political and economic criteria for membership.

    "Whereas accession will be far off for all other candidates, things could go quite quickly for Cyprus. Having adapted to 80-90% of the acquis communautaire, Cyprus is in a very different situation from countries which have just adapted to 15-40% of the EU legislation", he said.

    The Liberal Group member told an audience, which included Cypriot political and public figures as well as foreign diplomats, that Turkey is still far from fulfilling the political and economic criteria of membership.

    Bertens referred to the conditions put forward for Turkey by the recent EU summit on the strengthening of relations with this country and its participation in the European Conference next year.

    He expressed the view that although the criteria were, in fact, justified, the principle of treating Turkey in a different way than the other applicants was a "bad idea".

    "That is the reason why Turkey now feels abandoned by Europe and why Turkey is now making the most absurd proposals like boycotting European firms, withdrawing its application for membership, refusing to participate in the European Conference and integrate the northern part of Cyprus", he added.

    At the same time, the Euro MP stressed that "no one is giving in to those threats... It is not Europe that needs Turkey but it is Turkey that needs Europe..."

    Bertens noted that "no one except (Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf) Denktash and (Turkish Prime Minister Mesut) Yilmaz is seeing a link between Cypriot and Turkish membership."

    He added "I and my colleagues in the European Parliament have continuously said that Turkey cannot have a veto with regard to the Cyprus accession to the Union. The European Council has expressed similar views several times and is now living up to its promise."

    He recalled that there is a consensus amongst the EU member-states that the illegal occupation of the northern part of Cyprus cannot be accepted and recognised.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

    He said the EU came to the conclusion that the accession negotiations will contribute positively to the search for a political solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Bertens said the EU wants the involvement of both communities in the accession negotiations and gives credit to the Cypriot government for proposing this idea.

    "But behind the scenes, I notice that many governments exclude accession of a divided island. But they also know that the status quo on the island is untenable," he said.

    The Dutch Euro MP said the European Parliament insists that the Union must negotiate in good faith with Cyprus. As soon as the negotiations have been concluded, Cyprus should be allowed to join the Union. "Only if the Union will really stick to this policy, will the illegal occupier, Turkey, give way and allow for a fair solution to be found."

    He stressed that "not only is Cyprus ready for membership and we can't give in to Turkish blackmail, the start of accession negotiations could well be the best way to finding a solution to the conflict on the island."

    Bertens expressed the view that the accession negotiations are a viable instrument for change on the island. "If played well, Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots will return to the negotiating table.

    But they will only come back if they are convinced that Cyprus will join the Union with or without the Turkish Cypriots... But this only works if the member-states are willing to keep their word and let Cyprus join with or without a solution to the conflict. If Turkey knows that they still have a veto over de facto accession of Cyprus, Turkey will still continue opposing the talks."

    The Dutch Euro MP said the EU and the United States need to provide backing to the process through a well coordinated approach.

    At the same time, he called on the Cyprus government to do its part of the work needed to make the UN efforts a success.

    "Only a united front will work and use all available instruments of pressure. The NATO might have a role to play in this regard as well," he added.

    Introducing Bertens, Dr Andreas Theophanous, Director of the Research and Development Centre - Intercollege, referred to the role of think-tanks in the new international political and economic environment.

    "Think-tanks constitute, among other things, necessary vehicles for designing enlightened and efficient policies," he said. CNA/GP/1997


    [02] Spokesman dismisses Denktash's claims

    Nicosia, Dec 12 (CNA) -- Government Spokesman Manolis Christofides today blamed the Turkish side for the fact that Turkish Cypriots are isolated from the international community.

    At the same time, he called on Turkish Cypriots to cooperate in efforts to reach a settlement in Cyprus and stressed that Cyprus' accession to the European Union (EU) will benefit both the Greek and Turkish Cypriot youth.

    Christofides outlined the government's position on these issues commenting on an article written by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash entitled "Abandoned by the world".

    He said that if Denktash feels abandoned "he has his policy to blame and the crimes Turkey has committed against Cyprus".

    Christofides pointed out that both Denktash and Turkish officials have recently stepped up efforts and statements to achieve recognition of the secessionist entity unilaterally declared in the occupied north.

    The Spokesman stressed that the international community does and will not recognise the puppet regime set up in 1983 in the areas occupied by Turkey since its 1974 invasion of Cyprus.

    He reminded of various UN resolution "which call on member states not to recognise the pseudostate", recognised only by Turkey.

    Christofides noted that Turkish Cypriots have their place in the Republic of Cyprus and stressed that "if we cooperate we can gradually establish the federal, bizonal, bicommunal Republic of Cyprus".

    The Spokesman dismissed Denktash's claims that the EU summit decision, taken in Luxembourg earlier this month, to start accession talks with Cyprus in spring 1998 is like "offering Greek Cypriots union (with Greece) on a silver platter".

    "The Luxembourg decision offers Greek and Turkish Cypriot youth the chance to become Europeans," he said, adding that "we should take advantage of this opportunity".

    CNA MA/MCH/1997
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