06 December, 2006
Cypriot Foreign Minister George Lillikas, in a meeting on Tuesday with OSCE Secretary General Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, expressed Nicosia's disappointment over Turkey preventing Cyprus accession in the Treaty of Open Skies.
Lillikas met de Brichambaut on the sidelines of the 14th meeting of the annual Ministerial Council of the 56 OSCE participating States in Brussels where they examined the role which Cyprus can play in strengthening the Mediterranean dimension of the OSCE. The organization’s Secretary-General accepted an invitation by Lillikas to visit Cyprus at the end of January.
Addressing the Council, Lillikas welcomed its results and reconfirmed the significance which the Republic of Cyprus attaches in improving its effectiveness and ability to respond to the new challenges.
Lillikas accused Turkey for its unacceptable stance towards Cyprus' efforts to become a member of the Treaty of Open Skies and expressed the hope that soon it will realize that the aim of serving the common interests of the OSCE should be above political expediencies of isolated member states.
The Cypriot minister also held bilateral meetings with his European counterparts on the sidelines of the council, in view of the EU General Affairs Council on December 11-12 which will concentrate on Turkey's EU course.
He also analyzed the Cypriot positions and proposals which aim at securing the preconditions and control mechanism on Turkey, so that Turkey's EU course will be accompanied by the implementation of its obligations towards the EU and member states.
On November 29, the European Commission said it was recommending a partial suspension of Turkey's EU membership talks for refusing to open its ports and airports to Cypriot vessels and aircraft.
The Commission said eight out of 35 negotiating chapters would be put on hold.
EU member-state Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory. Turkey, which aspires to join the EU, has so far refused to implement numerous United Nations calling for the immediate withdrawal of its troops from this east Mediterranean island Republic.
Source: Athens News Agency