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02 February, 1999
European Union Foreign Relations Commissioner Hans van den Broek yesterday called on Turkey to assume its responsibilities and contribute towards a solution to the protracted Cyprus issue.
He made the statement after a meeting here with Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, calling on Turkey to stop placing obstacles in the EU accession course of Cyprus.
"I realize that the political problem was not resolved despite the courageous decision by President (Glafcos) Clerides on the S-300 missiles. However, a solution does not depend only on the one side. A positive contribution by the other side is also necessary," he said.
Mr. van den Broek described the decision by Mr. Clerides not to deploy the Russian-made missiles system in Cyprus as courageous and important and as a decision toward defusing tension and achieving political settlement of the Cyprus problem.
He said the decision would strengthen EU ties with Cyprus and especially the continuation of the Republic's accession talks, which opened last year.
Expressing the EU's appreciation" for the Cypriot president's decision, Mr. van den Broek, said the deployment of the S-300 would have disturbed "the EU process that both sides are fully engaged in".
Referring to the Republic's accession negotiations he said, "so far Cyprus has made good progress" and reassured "we will do everything on our side to see to it that this is maintained".
With regard to EU relations with Turkey, he said efforts for their improvement must continue.
The EU official also underlined that Ankara must understand that it must not take any actions that will pose problems in efforts to reach a settlement in Cyprus, which has been divided since Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory in 1974.
Source: Athens News Agency