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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 06-11-10

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The European Union Finnish presidency intends to exhaust all possible avenues in order to achieve a compromise on ideas it has floated among the three interested parties, with regard to Cyprus and Turkey, hopefully before the upcoming EU summit in mid December.

    In an interview with CNA, the Finnish Ambassador to Cyprus Risto Pipponen has indicated that something in writing could be presented to the parties, if a compromise is on the cards.

    He stressed however that progress towards a compromise deal depends on the parties involved the government of Cyprus, the Turkish Cypriot community and Turkey and not on the presidency, and the parties are to take the responsibility of any possible failure.

    Ambassador Ripponen also believes that progress on one part of the Finnish proposals, which he described as realistic, relating to direct trade between Cyprus northern Turkish occupied areas and the EU would help progress on the other (Turkeys obligations under an EU protocol affecting Cyprus too) , noting at the same time that these two parts are clearly separate issues.

    He said that consultations have been going on for quite some time now and continue with all the parties and a set of ideas has been presented orally to them.

    These ideas have two separate parts, one to continue implementation of the conclusions of the Council of April 26, 2004, called trade between the northern part of Cyprus and the EU and the second relates to Turkeys obligations under the additional protocol of the Ankara Agreement, he explained.

    Noting that these are clearly separate issues, he pointed out that if we can make progress on one, that would help make progress on the other one, we would rather talk about two parallel processes.

    The objective is to find a compromise as soon as possible, he added.

    Replying to questions, he said all three parties are privy to these ideas, and explained that no written proposals have been submitted.

    These are oral proposals, we have been asked details, we answered and we asked for the reaction and comments by the parties, he said, adding that the format of the work done is not actually that important.

    If we approach a situation where we see a compromise could be achievable, it is clear that at that stage we will present a paper or papers of the different elements but when that would happen I am not able to say, the Ambassador indicated, noting that the EU Council, the Commission and the UN are all informed about the Finnish efforts and that assistance from other actors will be needed if the work is about to lead to a compromise.

    Invited to clarify the kind of compromise sought, he explained that we can have a compromise on the first part of the ideas without a compromise on the other.

    Hopefully we can have both. Turkeys obligations are there, whatever happens or does not happen with the direct trade, they are there unconditional and we may have a deal on direct trade and no compliance by Ankara with obligations but this is rather unlikely, we aim to have a deal, he stressed.

    Asked if the ideas the parties put across can be reconciled, the Ambassador said the Finnish proposals are realistic and will not give anyone all they want but EU partners consider them realistic and pragmatic.

    On the failed attempt to have meetings in Helsinki last week, he said that was not the end of the road and explained that the idea was to have separate discussions with the parties, something like proximity talks.

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