24 May, 2003
NICOSIA 24/05/2003 (ANA-G.Leonidas/CNA)
It takes two to tango, Greek European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs Anna Diamantopoulou said here on Friday, commenting on Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's rejection of the measures the EU intends to announce in support of Turkish Cypriots next month.
She stressed that if there is complete refusal to cooperate, the EU will not be able to enforce funding or implement programs in some areas.
Speaking at a press conference in Nicosia, Diamantopoulou pointed out there is only one scenario for Cyprus, the scenario of the accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the EU and the gradual solution of the Cyprus problem, in the logic of one state, where everyone will have equal rights, noting that ''any other plans that the Turkish Cypriot community can become a member of the EU through Turkey has no legal foundation and has been completely rejected by the EU''.
Diamantopoulou wrapped up a two-day visit to Cyprus on Friday.
On the Cyprus problem, Diamantopoulou said she and Enlargement Commissioner Gunter Verheugen discussed the appointment of an EU envoy on Cyprus, noting ''nothing formal has been decided on the issue by the (EU) presidency''.
She expressed reservation over the issue, noting that any discussions should take place within the framework of the UN which ''has the initiative and the Annan Plan is on the agenda as a basis for negotiations'' and any EU action or support will take place within this framework.
The legislative framework of the EU provides the best guarantee to put into operation and make effective a government in a Cyprus state, in the event of a settlement'', the Commissioner added.
Invited to comment on Denktash's rejection of the EU measures, before they were announced, Diamantopoulou said ''it takes two to tango'', adding that ''if there is complete refusal to cooperate, the EU will not be able to give by force any funding or implement programs in a specific area''.
She said Denktash's initial reaction ''is extremely negative for the Turkish Cypriots themselves because it basically means refusal of their welfare''.
''I want to believe that there will be a review of the position, otherwise communication will become totally unreliable'', she warned.
Referring to her visits to the control points where Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots are crossing the divide, following the easing of restrictions in the freedom of movement, Diamantopoulou said ''it is really an intense feeling to see this ease of movement in the area, see people coming and going''.
On her contacts on the island, Diamantopoulou said ''it is clear that Cyprus remains one of the countries which have taken significant steps in adopting the acquis communautaire''.
She also said that Cyprus must maintain its leading position in efforts to complete harmonization with the acquis communautaire.
Regarding her meetings with Turkish Cypriot politicians, Diamantopoulou said that it was their first meeting at the offices of the Delegation of the European Commission in the government-controlled areas of the Republic, and that she tried to explain in depth the fundamental principle that the EU is negotiating with a state, it is acceding a state and that just like it has done with Germany, the implementation of the acquis communautaire is suspended in one part of a country, until its reunification.
On the programs for which the EU will provide funding, she said there is long-term support regarding planning after 2007 and in the event of a solution, there is a complete package which includes structures, supporting businesses and human resources.
There is also a medium-term program for the period 2004-2006 in the event of a solution where funding has been set for 206 million euros and a short-term plan which will be announced on June 3, concerning financial development in the Turkish occupied areas, supporting and easing commercial relations and supporting the cooperation of the citizens' society at all levels.
Referring to Cyprus' participation in EU meetings, Diamantopoulou said she discussed the issue with President Tassos Papadopoulos, officials and party leaders, and what she has ascertained is that there is a common view that Cyprus should be represented in the strongest way possible.
Diamantopoulou also met here on Friday with the Ambassadors of the nine remaining acceding EU states to discuss, among other issues, the Cyprus problem and prospects to solve the issue.
The Ambassadors were informed about the results of her meetings on the island and exchanged views concerning issues which pertain her duties.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. It is scheduled to become a full member of the EU in May 2004.
Source: Athens News Agency