Cyprus' EU Presidency Will Be 'Impartial' - Marcoullis
Speaking to the Meeting of Heads of Representations of the European Commission in Nicosia, Marcoullis said:
"On Turkey, allow me first to reiterate in the strongest possible terms Cyprus’ national position of unequivocal support towards the objective of Turkey’s full accession, on the proviso that Turkey respects and fulfills without exception all its obligations vis-à-vis the EU. I want to stress that our policy on this issue has not wavered in the slightest since we ourselves joined formally in May of 2004," said Marcoullis.
The government is 'obviously very disappointed' by Turkey's stance towards Cyprus - Ankara has threatened to ignore Cyprus' position as the EU Council presidency, said the minister.
"Despite the oft repeated and crudely expressed intention by Turkey to freeze its relations with the Council during our Presidency, we will continue to monitor Turkey’s progress in its accession negotiations and to promote their advancement, objectively reviewing its state-of-play and the possible opening of available chapters," she said.
Turkey's progress towards EU membership has been effectively frozen over its refusal to recognise Cyprus. All EU members have to recognise the others, but Turkey only recognises the 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' declared unilaterally in the 1980's.
"Let me make one thing clear: Cyprus will not take advantage of its position as President of the Council of the European Union to advance its national agenda. At the same time, we will not accept Turkey using our Presidency to bypass Cyprus, or to attempt to infringe upon our rights as sovereign state, and member of the EU," said Marcoullis.
Cyprus will lead an impartial Presidency, and will not be guided, in its policies, either by threats, or by fear, she said.
Cyprus itself does not recognise the state of Kosovo, also unilaterally declared after the war in Yugoslavia and approved by the International Court of Justice as a legal state.
"Despite our well-known position of not recognizing Kosovo’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence, allow me to stress that the Cyprus Presidency will employ a balanced approach, taking into full consideration the views of all the member states of the EU," said Marcoullis.
On the issue of Macedonia, Marcoullis said that Cyprus would abide by the widespread opinion of other EU states that the naming issue must first be resolved before accession talks begin.
Cyprus takes up the EU rotating presidency in 18 days.
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