Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/turkey : Talat: Finnish Proposal on Cyprus Is Not Comprehensive

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/turkey : Talat: Finnish Proposal on Cyprus Is Not Comprehensive

Article excerpt

"We try to be constructive on the Finnish Presidency's proposal. However, Northern Cyprus is still very much committed to the Annan plan, which is more comprehensive," said Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat on 10 October in Brussels.

The Finnish EU Presidency has recently launched a new diplomatic drive to reach an agreement on the Cyprus problem before the end of the year. The proposal, which is being negotiated, is being kept secret by Finland. Its aim is to strike a deal between Turkey and the Turkish and Greek communities of Cyprus on lifting the isolation of the northern part of the island, which is a precondition for Turkey to recognise Greek Cyprus. If an agreement is not achieved in the coming weeks and Ankara does not recognise Greek Cyprus by the end of 2006, accession negotiations might be partly or entirely suspended. The Commission is expected to prepare its position on this issue by 8 November, when the progress report on Turkey's accession preparations is scheduled to be published.

"The Finnish proposal offers only partial lifting of Northern Cyprus' isolation," said Talat. "Opening of direct trade between Turkey, and the Greek and Turkish parts of Cyprus does not entirely lift the isolation," he added. "There are other issues to be considered, such as the status of Ercan airport, which is not included in the Finnish proposal," stressed Talat [Northern Cyprus has direct air links only with Turkey, where all planes from Europe must first touch down]. "We will insist that the Finnish Presidency include such issues as Ercan airport in its package, which we expect to be presented to us soon," he added. …

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