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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 04-11-12
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 Greece and Cyprus support Turkey's european aspirations
Greece and Cyprus support Turkey's european aspirations
Nicosia, Nov 12 (CNA) -- Cyprus and Greece support Turkeys European course, however, they say Turkey must fulfill its obligations as a candidate country, towards the European Union and Cyprus, stated here Friday Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and visiting Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.
Speaking after their talks at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, President Papadopoulos avoided revealing what stance Cyprus will take on the issue of granting Turkey a date for the start of accession negotiations with the EU, stressing that the decision will be taken, after developments are reviewed at the last moment.
He stressed that although 17 December 2004 is a milestone, it does not mean that efforts end there.
The two leaders stressed the need for a resumption of efforts to solve the Cyprus problem based on the Annan Plan, provided, as President Papadopoulos stated, the relevant amendments and improvements are made to the plan to make it functional and viable.
The common aim remains the need to solve the Cyprus problem, within the framework of the UN and as a member of the EU, said Karamanlis, so that Cypriots can live in conditions of security and prosperity and enjoy the fruits of accession to the EU.
In his remarks, President Papadopoulos said they had very cordial talks where they examined the position of the Cyprus problem as it is today and reaffirmed that our desire for a settlement remains our main pursuit and goal.
The two governments desire is to create the conditions, the soonest, for a new effort for a Cyprus settlement, within the framework of the Annan Plan, provided it undergoes the necessary changes and improvements which will make it functional and viable, President Papadopoulos said.
On his part, Karamanlis said the prospects that lie ahead for the Cyprus problem were examined in detail, while possibilities to resume the momentum for a solution as well as renewing the international interest were considered.
The issue of Turkey getting a date to start accession negotiations with the EU was also examined, President Papadopoulos said, adding we have ascertained that both countries desire to see a European Turkey, our neighbour.
The Republic of Cyprus has repeatedly said that in principle, it is positively considering granting a date to Turkey to start accession negotiations, provided it realises and accepts that it must fulfill all the obligations which a candidate state has towards the EU and Cyprus, the Cypriot President underlined.
He pledged that Cyprus will make efforts at all fora and with Greeces support, to secure Turkeys commitment to fulfill its obligations which will be to the benefit, not only for Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, but even for Turkey itself and Europe.
However, he did not disclose what the government intends to do if Turkey fails to recognise the Republic of Cyprus. Our decision will be taken by evaluating all issues at the moment as well as balancing the desires of other EU member states, he added.
He also said that Cyprus fully recognises its capabilities and power, and will not support extreme positions, and at the same time will not abandon issues which are of vital significance for the existence and role of the Republic of Cyprus within the EU.
The Greek Premier said his country has for long now supported Turkeys European orientation which is based however on certain rules, criteria and attitudes.
He referred to the European Commissions progress report which sets a number of preconditions for Turkey if this country wants to start mebership talks with the EU. "This is our policy and we are in continued contact with the government of Cyprus, Karamanlis noted.
The EU leaders are expected to decide on the issue on 17 December during their summit. Both Greece and Cyprus are members of the EU.
The two leaders examined issues of common interest in a climate of understanding and cooperation, as they said, and ascertained the excellent level of bilateral relations.
Papadopoulos and Karamanlis also discussed the missing persons issue. The Cypriot President said the Turkish Cypriot side has adopted delaying tactics as far as the exhumations and identification process is concerned.
In his remarks, Premier Karamanlis thanked Papadopoulos for the warm welcome and said he was ''very happy to be in Cyprus where the people fought and won the big European prize'' (entering the EU).
After his talks with Papadopoulos, Premier Karamanlis met the leaders of the political parties represented in the island's 56-seat House of Representatives. No statements were made after the meeting.
He, later on, met the members of the supreme body of the Cyprus Orthodox Church, before departing for the Presidential Palace for an official dinner given in his honour by President Papadopoulos.
 Cyprus President: Turkey must comply with its obligations towards EU and Cyprus
Cyprus President: Turkey must comply with its obligations towards EU and Cyprus
Nicosia, Nov 12 (CNA) -- The government of Cyprus in principle supports Turkey's candidacy to join the European Union, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos said here today, adding that Turkey should at the same time recognise, understand, accept and comply with its obligations towards the European Union and all its member states, including Cyprus.
''Part of these obligations is the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus, the withdrawal of the occupation troops and settlers, the end of the organised new wave of settlers, avoiding hostile actions against Cyprus, like the obstruction of the participation of the Republic in international organisations and international treaties'', President Papadopoulos said tonight.
He was addressing a dinner he gave in honour of Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, who is on the island for a two-day visit.
Referring to the Cyprus problem, he said that Cyprus is going through a period, ''pregnant with developments, which if handled correctly, with the people of Cyprus in a state of unity and the precious support and contribution of Greece, may open the way to a dignified if painful compromise and to a viable solution of the Cyprus problem''.
President Papadopoulos underlined that nobody wants the solution of the Cyprus Problem more than the Cypriots do and added, ''nobody can claim to be more disappointed than we because the Cyprus problem has not been solved''.
''That is why no Greek Cypriot can be convinced that those who, claiming to aim at reunification act for the so called termination of the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community, all the while consolidating division and estrangement between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots'', he said.
The Cyprus President conveyed to Greek Prime Minister, the Greek government and the people of Greece, ''our thanks and gratitude for the unwavering, invaluable and proven support and solidarity that the Government and the people of Greece has been giving us selflessly at dangerous and difficult times for the people of Cyprus''.
Referring to the December European Council that will take a decision as to whether the EU should set a date for opening accession negotiations with Turkey, Papadopoulos said ''in principle we are in favour of Turkeys candidacy to join the European Union, because we are convinced that a truly European Turkey will be a factor of stability in our region and a secure link between Europe and the Middle East, provided that Turkey at the same time will recognise, understand, accept and comply with its obligations towards the European Union and all its member states, including Cyprus''.
''We do not underestimate, on the contrary we recognise the decisive importance of the time frame for the commencement of accession negotiations between Turkey and the European Union, but mainly and more importantly the process of accession negotiations itself'', the Cyprus President underlined.
He added ''this is why, in principle we support a decision to be taken by the European Council on December 17 for the start of accession negotiations with Turkey. However, we are entitled to demand of Turkey to show both in word and deed by December 17 and also after that date that it realises and accepts that the European Union consists of 25 members and that the positive vote of every one of these 25 states is required at each stage of the process''.
''Turkeys claim that we should in essence accept that we exist as Republic of Cyprus exclusively and only at the time when our positive vote is required to take the decision to start accession negotiations and at every follow-up decision required for the smooth conduct of negotiations, whereas at all other times we shall pass into nothingness, lacks any moral foundation'', he noted.
The Cypriot President added ''I wish to disclose something- which you, Prime Minister know and that is that we have sent a message to the government of our neighbouring country that we are ready for dialogue to explain our positions and to say how we see the relations between Cyprus and Turkey developing before and after December 17 until Turkeys accession to the European Union, and how we see a common peaceful future as members of the Union''.
''Now it is up to Turkey to accept this invitation and challenge'', President Papadopoulos said.
Referring to the Cyprus problem, he said that the Greek Cypriot side seeks and aspires to a solution which would restore and safeguard the human rights of all Cypriots without discrimination, a solution of a state which would embody democracy and the rule of law, which are basic principles for the functioning of every contemporary state, in a bizonal, bicommunal federation of two constituent states within the framework and the philosophy of the Annan plan.
The Annan plan, he added, should be improved through ''either its amendment of the removal of terms and provisions which make doubtful its functionality and viability and which lead to the division of the people, society, the economy and the institutions instead of promoting their reunification and unity''.
''We want to have the possibility to become a constructive partner in the EU and not a nuisance. We desire and seek a solution of a state unfettered without anachronistic dependencies on foreign powers, without Turkish troops and the tools of war on our land and without the insecurity for today and uncertainty for tomorrow that such dependencies create'', he said.
Referring to the Annan plan, which was rejected by the Greek Cypriots at the April referendum, he said that the verdict of the people has to be respected by all ''so that we can face and overcome the difficulties which have inevitably arisen and which so far we have faced successfully''.
''No one who respects the verdict of the people is allowed to invoke these difficulties in order to justify supporting a yes vote. Because the difficulties of a yes vote would have been the same or worse only then it would not be possible either to face or to reverse them'', the Cyprus President noted.
He underlined that ''we do not regret having said no to a bad solution but we are sad that we did not have before us, as Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, a good solution like the one I have described and which we could have and still can agree to and which would bring salvation to our people''.
''The Cassandras who predicted political disasters that would befall Greek Cypriots as a result of the stand they took at the referendum, are daily proven wrong and our people are following their path, keeping intact their honour and dignity and the expectation of an honourable compromise. This despite foreign exhortations, pressure, threats and blackmail'', he added.
Referring to the Turkish Cypriots, President Papadopoulos said the Cyprus government encourages the development of economic relations between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and has already submitted to the EU and is currently discussing proposals in this direction.
''The suspension of the acquis communautaire in the occupied areas and the negative stand of the occupation regime have not succeeded in obstructing economic dealings between Greek and Turkish Cypriots which have timidly started nor the employment of a big number of Turkish Cypriots in the free areas, which has given a boost to the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community, much more than any promised foreign economic assistance could do'', he noted.
President Papadopoulos reassured that the government of Cyprus would continue to oppose decisively the partitionist and divisive policies and actions wherever they may come from.
 Greek Premier: Greece remains dedicated to Cyprus settlement
Greek Premier: Greece remains dedicated to Cyprus settlement
Nicosia, Nov 12 (CNA) -- Greece remains dedicated to a settlement of the Cyprus problem through a viable, functional and just agreement, in conformity with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations and the principles of the European Union, Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said tonight, in his speech at a dinner given in his honour by Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos.
''I agree with you, President Papadopoulos, that the Cyprus people and you personally, are being called upon to take very difficult decisions. Decisions concerning a painful as you pointed out compromise that would lead to a just and viable solution of the Cyprus problem. A decision within the framework of a bicommunal -bizonal federation based on the plan of the UN Secretary General'', Karamanlis said.
The Greek Premier, on the island for a two-day visit, reassured that the government and the people of Greece are standing as always by the side of the people of Cyprus and its leaders.
''Despite the difficult international circumstances we have to make it clear that our vision is a free and united Republic of Cyprus, a state based on the rule of law and democracy, that would safeguard the rights of all its citizens, Greek and Turkish Cypriots, that would project the European character of the island and would constitute a link between the European Union and the Middle East'', he stressed.
Referring to Turkey's European course, he said ''we support Turkeys European orientation, which is, after all, our strategic choice''.
He added ''Turkeys course towards Europe, which is expected to be a long one, depends on her attitude. The respect of the rules of international law and the acquis communautaire is sine qua non if Turkey is to be accepted in Europe''.
Karamanlis, who visits Cyprus as the first Greek Prime Minister after the island's official accession to the European Union, expressed his ''fervent wish and deep desire to be the first Prime Minister of Greece to visit a reunited Cyprus, the unified and free state of Cyprus''.
Referring to Cyprus' accession to the EU in May this year, he said ''our constant aim, our ultimate target, the dream, I would say of so many years has at last become reality with the sincere heartfelt and unwavering support of Greece. Cyprus with its European debut which it has achieved with much effort and consistency, has acquired a significant voice in the international arena''.
''Unfortunately, the new European identity of Cyprus has not yet led to the much desired solution of the Cyprus problem. The sovereign people of Cyprus with a strong majority decided that the plan of the UN Secretary General was not satisfactory'', he noted.
Karamanlis added ''despite the fact that the popular verdict is still fresh, it is my conviction that Greek Cypriot citizens are ready and firmly oriented, as they have proved by their maturity so far, to a functional solution to the Cyprus problem, which is a historic anachronism''.
''In the light of the new situation, there is need for sobriety, circumspection, clear thinking and mainly unanimity. No chance should be missed to declare in every direction that we remain dedicated to a settlement of the Cyprus problem through a viable, functional and just agreement, in conformity with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations and the principles of the EU'', he said.
Karamanlis added that the participation of Cyprus in the institutions of the European Union would allow it to contribute to the deepening and the consolidation of a common European idea in the minds of the peoples of Europe.
''We got an inkling of this during the signing of the First European Constitution'', the Greek Prime Minister said.
He furthermore noted that with its accession to the EU, Cyprus extended the borders of Europe just a stones throw away from the Near East. This position gives Cyprus the possibility, based on its strong economy, its reliable public administration and the dynamism of the Cypriot citizens, to create an important centre for the development of trade, shipping and communications''.
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