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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 06-11-27

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs George Lillikas has said that despite the good will of the Cypriot government and the efforts of the Finnish EU presidency, it was not possible to reach an agreement in Tampere, Finland, regarding the Finnish effort to avert a crisis between the EU and Turkey.

    In a written statement after a meeting in Tampere with Finnish Minister of Foreign Affairs Erkki Touomioja, Lillikas says that negotiations will continue with an aim at reaching the necessary unanimity among the 25 EU partners.

    Lillikas notes that ``the Cypriot government, as is well-known, has responded positively to the Finnish initiative and made many efforts for a positive outcome, which would allow the opening of the Famagusta port, for direct trade purposes, under European Commission supervision, the handing over of the town of Varosha to the UN, with the withdrawal of the Turkish occupation troops from there and the guarantee of the return of the legitimate inhabitants of the town to their homes and properties.``

    ``Unfortunately, despite our good will and the good-will efforts of the Finnish presidency, it was not possible to reach an agreement because, as every agreement, it requires the good will of all involved parties,`` he points out.

    Lillikas adds that ``as a result, from now on discussions focus on the conclusions that the European Council will be called upon to adopt in December, according to the statement of 21 September 2005, taking into consideration that Turkey has not met the obligations it has undertaken towards the EU and its member states.``

    ``Today we had the opportunity to exchange views and assessments regarding the conclusions with the Finnish presidency, both on a political and a diplomatic level. The deliberations will continue with the ultimate aim of reaching the necessary unanimity among the 25 partners,`` he concludes.

    The Finnish Presidency of the EU conducted negotiations to reach an agreement in order to prevent a crisis between the EU and Turkey.

    The Cypriot government has stressed that the precondition for the success of the Finnish EU presidency`s initiative is the return of Varosha to its legitimate inhabitants, within a well-defined timetable.

    Cyprus, which joined the EU in May 2004, has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    Turkey, a country aspiring to become an EU member state, does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus and refuses to implement the EU-Turkey Customs Union Protocol, which provides for the opening of its ports and airports to Cyprus.

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