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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-12-01

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] FM to hold crucial talks in Nicosia

  • [01] FM to hold crucial talks in Nicosia

    Greece's foreign minister Doras Bakoyannis is scheduled to meet in Nicosia on Friday afternoon with Cyprus president Tassos Papadopoulos and her Cypriot counterpart George Lillikas for crucial talks on EU-Turkey relations.

    During the meeting, at the Presidential mansion in Nicosia, the three will review and assess the latest developments in Turkey's EU accession course and prospects ahead of the EU Council of Ministers meeting on December 11 and the EU Summit on December 14.

    President Papadopoulos said on Thursday that he was not satisfied with the European Commission's recommendation, since it did not put effective pressure on Turkey to fulfill its obligations, while Cyprus government spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardis warned that Nicosia would not consent to the approval of the Commission recommendation if it remained as is. The spoksman further explained that Bakoyannis' visit had been scheduled before the release of the Commission's recommendations on Turkey, and was within the context of the constructive cooperation between the Greek and Cypriot governments.

    The European Commission recommended on Wednesday a partial suspension of Turkey's negotiations to join the European Union over its failure to open its ports to traffic from Cyprus. It proposed freezing negotiations on eight of the 35 policy areas or "chapters" into which the accession talks are divided, while it also said that no chapters would be "provisionally closed" (completed) until Turkey fully complied with its commitments to open its ports and airports to Cypriot ships and planes. The release of the recommendation was brought forward by one week from Dec. 6 in order to avoid leaks after talks brokered by the EU's Finnish presidency on the Cyprus trade issue collapsed on Monday.

    Pashiardis warned later on Wednesday that Nicosia will not give its consent to the European Commission's recommendation regarding Turkey's refusal to expand its Customs Union to the Republic of Cyprus, adding that the Cypriot government will intensify efforts for alterations to the recommendation so that it represent an effective measure against Turkey.

    "If we are not satisfied with the EU conclusions we will express our disagreement and the conclusions will not be valid," Pashiardis said, adding that ''In such a case, we will revert to and exercise our right not to permit the opening of chapters of Turkey's accession course.''

    The Cypriot spokesman said that the Commission's recommendation is not binding, given that "the final decision is up to the General Affairs Council and the EU Summit", while it also did not provide for an effective mechanism to monitor Ankara's compliance with the obligations it has assumed.

    In the time elapsing until the EU Foreign Ministers' Council meeting, the Cypriot side will intensify its efforts so that the final conclusions will force Turkey, within a specific deadline, to comply with its European obligations, Pashiardis said, warning that "the absence of a regular timeframe for the review of the fulfillment of the Turkish obligations towards the Republic of Cyprus in combination with the fact that Turkey's course is continuing, albeit at a slower pace, will encourage Turkey's intransigence and will act as a counter-incentive for the full and immediate compliance with the EU's demands".

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