03 September, 2005
Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis on Friday said a new proposal by the British EU presidency calling on EU hopeful Turkey to normalize relations with Cyprus was improved in relation to the first draft, "although the text needs certain changes in order to reflect the general spirit and common denominator of positions presented by Greece, Cyprus and other member-states."
The head of Greek diplomacy made the statements from the Welch golf resort of Newport, the site of an informal EU foreign ministers' council meeting late this week dominated by the question of EU-Turkey relations.
Earlier in the afternoon, Molyviatis met privately with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul on the sidelines of the ministers' council. According to a press release issued by the foreign ministry, the two ministers discussed the latest developments in EU-Turkey relations.
The diplomatic "thorn" related to Ankara's standing refusal to recognize the island republic -- one of 25 nations comprising a Union it hopes to join -- has generated more clouds for Turkey's EU prospects, although Molyviatis on Friday struck a more optimistic note regarding the scheduled beginning of accession negotiations.
"It became clear (in the sessions) that there's a consistent view holding that the Turkey-EU accession negotiations process must begin, as long, of course, as there is a certainty that Turkey will fulfill its commitment regarding the signing of the (customs union) protocol and its subsequent implementation for all countries, without exceptions," the Greek minister said.
Along those lines, Molyviatis said he believes EU-Turkey accession negotiations will begin, as scheduled, on Oct. 3, while again emphasizing the long course needed for Turkey's harmonization with Europe's standards.
"Turkey's complete fulfillment of set conditions and prerequisites will reasonably lead to its European Union accession after the conclusion of this lengthy process," he said.
Source: Athens News Agency