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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-09-21
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 EU counter-declaration to Ankara fully meets targets, gov't saysThe content of the EU's counter-declaration to Turkey's unilateral statement that it continues to refuse to recognise the Republic of Cyprus, which is an EU member country, fully meets the targets that had been set out by the Greek government, Greek diplomatic sources said in New York.
The EU counter-declaration was also welcomed by the Greek government in Athens on Wednesday, with government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos describing it as a "successful conclusion" reached after a long, difficult and painstaking process, which the government saw as particularly significant.
Diplomats in New York said that it was an "important development" both with respect to the gradual monitoring of Turkey in its European aspirations, and to the efforts for achieving a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem on the basis of the European principles.
The diplomatic source was referring to a tentative agreement reached by the EU committee of permanent representatives (COREPER) in Brussels during an urgent meeting on Tuesday on the text of the EU's counter-declaration, which was expected to be adopted on Wednesday.
The key points in the counter-declaration text include EU rejection of Turkey's unilateral declaration that it does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus; Turkey is clearly required to fully implement the extended Customs Union agreement with all 10 new EU member states, including Cyprus; and that Turkey's failure to fulfill its obligations vis-a-vis the Customs Union agreement will negatively impact its accession talks with the European Union.
On July 29, Ankara signed the Association Agreement Protocol, by virtue of which Turkey extended its Customs Union agreement with the EU to the 10 new member states, including Cyprus. In tandem, Ankara also submitted a separate, unilateral declaration stating that it refused to recognise the Cyprus Republic and that its ports and airports would remain closed to Cypriot ships and planes.
The same diplomatic source said that all the points/targets set out by Greek foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos during a radio interview on September 1, vis-a-vis the EU Council of Foreign Ministers' informal meeting and the COREPER meeting, for inclusion in the counter-declaration have been attained.
The targets set out by Koumoutsakos at the time included explicit deploration of the Turkish declaration itself and of Ankara's volition to make such a declaration, namely that it does not recognise an EU member country; explicit statement of the fact that such actions do not produce legitimate results; clear mention of the need for implementation of the Protocol; and a clear-cut message to Turkey that only the Republic of Cyprus and its elected (Greek Cypriot) government were recognised by the EU and the international community in general as subjects of international law.
In Athens, main opposition PASOK party press officer Nikos Athanassakis said that the text of the counter-declaration "fell short of the circustances, expectations and prospects", and accused the government of celebrating whereas it had not succeeded in taking advantage of the "advantages our country had secured up until 18 months ago" when the ruling New Democracy party took over the government from PASOK.
He said the outcome of the negotiations, over which the government was celebrating, in essence constituted a "disorderly retreat" on the part of the Greek government, and was a direct consequence of prime minister Costas Karamanlis' public statement in New York on the non-use of its right of veto "which in essence put an end to the negotiation" (on the text of the counter-declaration), and a statement with which the premier "surrendered his arms".
The complete text of the EU's counter-declaration, which is due to be adopted on Wednesday, is as follows:
DECLARATION BY THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITY AND ITS MEMBER STATES
1. The European Community and its Member States acknowledge the signature by Turkey of the Additional Protocol to the Agreement establishing an Association between the European Community and its Member States on the one part and Turkey on the other, in accordance with the conclusions of the European Council of December 2004. They regret that Turkey felt it necessary to make a declaration regarding the Republic of Cyprus at the time of signature.
The European Community and its Member States make clear that this declaration by Turkey is unilateral, does not form part of the Protocol and has no legal effect on Turkey's obligations under the Protocol.
The European Community and its Member States expect full, non-discriminatory implementation of the Additional Protocol, and the removal of all obstacles in the free movement of goods, including restrictions on means of transport. Turkey must apply this Protocol fully to all EU Member States. The EU will monitor this closely and evaluate full implementation in 2006. The European Community and its Member States stress that the opening of negotiations on the relevant chapters depends on Turkey's implementation of its contractual obligations to all Member States. Failure to implement its obligations in full will affect the overall progress in the negotiations.
The European Community and its Member States recall that the Republic of Cyprus became a Member State of the European Union on 1st May 2004. They underline that they recognise only the Republic of Cyprus as a subject of international law.
Recognition of all Member States is a necessary component of the accession process. Accordingly, the EU underlines the importance it attaches to the normalisation of relations betweem Turkey and all EU Member States, as soon as possible.
6. The Council will ensure a follow-up on the progress made on all these issues in 2006.
7. In the context of this declaration, the European Community and its Member States agree on the importance of supporting the efforts of the UN Secretary General to bring about a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem in line with relevant UNSCRs and the principles on which the EU is founded, and that a just and lasting settlement will contribute to peace, stability and harmonious relations in the region.
 Foreign ministry spokesman says agreement reached on EU's reply to Turkey's unilateral statement on July 29Foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said on Tuesday that "the European Union's counter-statement constitutes a kind of birth certificate of the 'de facto' recognition of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey."
Koumoutsakos, who is accompanying Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis on his contacts on the sidelines of the 60th UN General Assembly, was commenting on the EU counter-statement responding to the unilateral statement made by Turkey on July 29 that it does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus.
The foreign ministry spokesman believes that "this text renders Turkey's obligation to fully implement the Protocol on Customs Union towards the Republic of Cyprus as an EU member-state clear and imperative."
Koumoutsakos' full statement on the issue is the following:
"Following a long, complex and difficult, literally word-for-word, negotiation an agreement was reached today (Tuesday) which, unless something unexpected happens, is expected to be adopted formally by COREPER tomorrow, on the European Union's reply to the known unilateral Turkish statement on July 29.
"In parallel, intense consultations are continuing on the negotiating framework between Turkey and the EU. That is on the general, as well as binding framework of prerequisites and obligations which Turkey must fulfill during its long course towards accession to the EU. And this negotiation developed positively for our side.
"As regards the European counter-statement in particular, I wish to stress that it is a clear European reply to the unilateral Turkish statement in July. It is a text of particular significance which includes all the declared aims of Greece and Cyprus.
"This text renders Turkey's obligation to fully implement the Preotocol on Customs Union towards the Republic of Cyprus as an EU member-state clear and imperative.
"The EU's counter-statement constitutes a kind of birth certificate of the 'de facto' recognition of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey. At the same time, firm foundations have also been laid for its 'de jure' recognition as well.
"These are developments of evident importance which were inconceivable a few years ago. As a matter of fact, they also place the issue of Cyprus in a new and more favourable framework.
"This result came after the incessant efforts which were made at all levels with determination and a clear strategic direction.
"They are the result of daily consultation and cooperation mainly between Athens and Nicosia, and with our other partners as well, including the British Presidency, of course."
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