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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-09-06

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Irish Labour leader - Cyprus - EU - Turkey

  • 1130:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Irish Labour leader - Cyprus - EU - Turkey

    by Maria Myles

    Nicosia, Sep 6 (CNA) -- A leading Irish politician has stressed the need to exert pressure on Turkey to negotiate "seriously" on Cyprus if a settlement is to be reached.

    Ruairi Quinn, leader of the Labour Party, called for a "concerted diplomatic campaign" to achieve this goal, and indicated clearly that US involvement is a must in this effort.

    In an interview with CNA, Quinn also said Turkey's European aspirations could very well be the leverage that would persuade the Turkish government to change its tune on Cyprus and added that there is no justification for a veto on Cyprus' application for European Union accession.

    "Pressure has got to be brought to bear on Turkey to enter serious negotiations. It seems to me unless Turkey gets into serious negotiations, the situation is not going to move forward," Quinn told CNA during his recent visit to Cyprus, at the invitation of the socialist party EDEK.

    "Unless Turkey is persuaded to negotiate comprehensively, and not simply to offer a conclusion as what happened on Monday then it would appear to me there will be no movement," he said of the recent Turkish Cypriot proposal for a Cyprus confederation with two sovereign and equal states.

    He said in the peace effort in Ireland US involvement was very important in that Irish Americans were able to use their considerable influence in the US in the direction of London, with whom Washington maintains serious ties.

    Quinn explained that the close relationship Dick Spring, his predecessor, has with US President Bill Clinton helped the peace effort a great deal.

    He added that London came to the conclusion it had no strategic interest in remaining in Northern Ireland, a declaration which, once made public, contributed to the peace effort.

    Drawing a parallel with the situation in Cyprus, he indicated that the US could work in the direction of Turkey to persuade it to shift from its current position on the Cyprus question.

    Quinn did not rule out the possibility that Turkey's wish to join the EU may very well be the cost the country has to pay to concede to a lasting settlement in Cyprus.

    "It seems to me Turkey has to decide for itself what their priorities are in moving on to the future and they do recognise and must be aware of the attitude of European parliament on these matters," he remarked.

    Asked if any EU member could veto Cyprus' accession if there is no solution to the political problem on the island, he replied "I can see no justification for such a veto, the fact that Cyprus is currently divided is not a reason for vetoing membership of the union."

    He referred to his country's and Germany's case as similar situations as the one Cyprus is facing, noting there is "some kind of precedent in the past."

    "I do not think that the situation in Cyprus and the position of Turkey can constitute an excuse for a member state to veto the full membership of Cyprus, particularly given the economic situation in Cyprus," he added.

    Replying to questions, he said he would be "surprised if the EU summit in December amends its position with regard to Turkey."

    CNA MM/KN/1998
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