|Thursday, 12 December 2019|
Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 06-11-07
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 PAPADOPOULOS - CROATIACroatian President Stjepan Mesic said on Tuesday, after official talks in Zagreb with his Cypriot counterpart Tassos Papadopoulos, that they agreed there was plenty of room for the further improvement of bilateral relations, noting that the establishment and expansion of a legal framework for cooperation was a prerequisite in this direction.
Mesic also said that some EU countries were trying to link Croatia`s accession with that of Turkey, and pointed out that this was unnecessary since each country would be judged on its own merits.
President Papadopoulos assured that Cyprus will always support the European Council decision that each country must be judged by its own performance and that as an EU member, Cyprus will help Croatia in these accession negotiations both with support in the working committees as well as by providing whatever experience it has had in its own accession negotiations.
Speaking through an interpreter, Mesic said they openly discussed bilateral relations, as well as regional and world problems.
He noted that this was the first official visit of a Cypriot President to Croatia, adding that bilateral relations have been developing only in recent years.
The Croatian President said his Cypriot counterpart invited him to visit Cyprus and that he accepted the invitation, noting that Croatia attaches ``special importance`` to its relations with Cyprus, as a Mediterranean country and a member of the EU.
``We agreed that there is plenty of room for the further improvement of bilateral relations. The establishment and expansion of a legal framework for cooperation is certainly a prerequisite for this improvement,`` he added.
Mesic said he was confident that Tuesday`s meeting would ``serve as a motivation for many exchanges of visits as well as of information on all state levels.``
He noted that the interest of Cypriot companies in making business with Croatia was ``particularly encouraging`` and said ``we mutually welcome the need to activate the potential for cooperation in the tourist sector, ship building, maritime affairs as well as in the building industry, and also to develop cultural and scientific cooperation, as well as cooperation in education.``
Mesic added that ``there is a great potential for cooperation in the field of joint sea exploration, where Croatia has made some major breakthroughs.``
The Croatian President said that they also exchanged views on cooperation in the region and the strategic goals of Croatia, as well international issues such as ``terrorism and crisis spots, where again our views coincide.``
``We both confirmed our wish to jointly work on getting other countries closer together and through our closer relations to give our contribution to new relations in Europe,`` he added.
President Papadopoulos said ``we want this meeting to be the starting point to further increase and develop the relations between Cyprus and Croatia in all fields.``
He said they discussed regional problems and the strategic policies of Croatia, and that he also explained the Cypriot positions on the EU accession course of both Croatia and Turkey.
President Papadopoulos assured that Cyprus will continue to support Croatia`s EU accession course.
``The Republic of Cyprus is already a member of the EU and I have expressed my wish and policy that Cyprus will help Croatia in these accession negotiations both with our support in the working committees as well as by providing whatever experience we have had in our own accession negotiations,`` he added.
Asked if any EU countries were trying to link Croatia`s accession negotiations with those of Turkey, Mesic said there were such countries, which he did not with to name, but noted that there was no need for such a connection since ``each country has its own way, each country starts its own negotiations and each country fulfills those standards that are valid in the EU.``
Replying to a question about Cyprus` position on the linking of the accession course of Croatia and Turkey, President Papadopoulos said there were already European Council decisions that each candidate would be ``judged on its own merits and according to its own progress in meeting the benchmarks and the other requirements of the accession negotiations.``
``We have supported and will always support the European Council decision which says that each country must be judged by its own performance,`` he assured.
Mesic said that during their private meeting they discussed bilateral relations and strategic goals, noting that Croatia`s strategic goal was to accede to the European Union.
The Croatian President decorated his Cypriot counterpart with the Grand Order of King Tomislav with Sash and Grand Star for his contribution to and assistance in Croatia`s EU accession course.
President Papadopoulos said Croatia is a friendly country and that bilateral relations are excellent, expressing hope that they could be further improved.
He said Cyprus strongly supports Croatia`s accession to the EU and the Union`s enlargement in general, and expressed certainty that under Mesic`s guidance the people of Croatia could join the EU.
President Papadopoulos decorated Mesic with the Grand Collar of the Order of Makarios III.
Following the decoration ceremony, the two Presidents and their delegations held official talks, on the conclusion of which Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment Photis Photiou and Croatian Minister of Culture Bozo Biskupic signed a bilateral agreement on cultural cooperation, in the presence of the two Presidents.
On President Papadopoulos` arrival at the Mesic`s office, an official red carpet welcoming ceremony was held, with a military band playing the national hymns of the two countries and the inspection of a guard of honour, followed by the introduction of the delegations of the two Presidents.
President Papadopoulos also met today with the Speaker of the Croatian Parliament Vladimir Seks.
Later on, he will be meeting with Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic and attending a state dinner hosted in his honour by Mesic.
 CYPRUS - EU - TURKEYCypriot Foreign Minister George Lillikas said that the government of Cyprus will judge Turkeys European course based on the degree of fulfilling the EU obligations it undertook by expressing its wish to become a full EU member state.
The Republic of Cyprus will judge Turkey not based on the ideas set out by the Finnish EU Presidency or any other future ideas that may be put on the table, but will judge Turkey based on the degree of fulfilling the EU obligations it undertook, Lillikas told reporters today.
Asked whether Cyprus would continue to block the opening of new EU Turkey negotiating chapters Lillikas said that this policy is valid until the conclusion of the discussions for Turkeys assessment, adding that already the opening of three negotiating chapters has been suspended.
We will evaluate our policy again after the conclusion of Turkeys assessment, he continued.
Lillikas noted that until now, Turkey has given no signs as to the fulfillment of its EU obligations.
Commenting on the same issue, Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardes said that the government would welcome the fulfillment of the EU obligations by Turkey, so that Ankara averts a negative criticism by the European Commission.
He added though that given the so far negative and provocative stance of Turkey, the Republic of Cyprus has no other alternative but to react so that Turkey meets its European obligations.
We have the obligation to assert our rights and what we deem as correct. We do not wish to isolate ourselves, but at the same time we can not accept that Turkey continues its accession negotiations despite the fact that it does not fulfill basic obligations, he noted.
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