NEWS

Cem : Cyprus solution before accession

Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said yesterday that his country wanted a solution to Cyprus’s division that would be acceptable to both nations and that Ankara would not accept the Cypriot government as the only representative of the island. This appeared to repeat Ankara’s long-standing demand that international recognition be granted to the breakaway republic headed by Rauf Denktash in northern Cyprus. Turkey wants a common solution that will be agreed upon by both nations and it has made clear that if southern Cyprus is admitted to the EU as the single sovereign of the island, we will not accept this. It is not a threat, it is reality, Cem told Turkey’s national assembly. He also clarified that when he said on November 2 that Ankara’s reaction to Cyprus’s EU accession would be costly he did not mean that Turkey would not join the EU but had considered that reaction to what Ankara might do might be something like the 1974 arms embargo against Turkey. Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday appealed to Ankara and the Turkish Cypriots to work toward a just solution. A new prospect is opening up for the two communities to live together, he said in Thessaloniki. But he added it was too soon to draw conclusions. In a message to the conference of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad in the northern city yesterday, Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides said the Greek Cypriots would continue with their positive stance during the talks. We hope a solution can be found before Cyprus enters the European Union so that our Turkish-Cypriot compatriots can also benefit from accession to the great European family, he said. Athens 2004 Managing Director Yiannis Spanoudakis told the conference that 150,000 to 200,000 applicants would be needed in order to choose a total of 60,000 volunteers required for the successful running of the Games. Half of these would need to be skilled, he said.