NEWS

Nicosia optimistic after report

Cyprus is hoping that the green light given by the EU to Turkey, regarding the latter’s prospective induction into the Union, will also act as a catalyst toward reunifying the island, according to Cypriot government statements yesterday. «As part of Turkey’s EU progression, the aim should be to take into consideration that a settlement of the Cyprus problem be a necessity on the basis of the principles which govern the operation of the EU,» said Kypros Chrysostomides, the Cypriot government spokesman. Some Cypriots were disappointed that the Commission only skirted round the issue of the divided island while laying more emphasis on matters such as human rights in Turkey. «The Commission has absolved Turkey of its sins in Cyprus,» said former Cypriot President George Vassiliou. Nikos Anastasiades, leader of opposition party DISY, also felt Cyprus had been let down by the report. «There is no reference to Turkish troops, or the occupation, or the need for Turkey to withdraw its troops from EU soil,» said Anastasiades. The government spokesman, though, felt that accession talks would put the necessary structure in place to bind the relevant parties into coming up with a solution to the Cyprus problem. «There is now a framework and a procedure in which our side can act, so as to make use of the possibilities toward realizing our targets on the Cyprus issue,» Chrysostomides said, adding that Cyprus did not intend to veto Turkey’s EU accession talks. The Cypriots are hopeful that after the December 17 EU leaders’ summit, when the issue of opening membership talks with Turkey will be discussed, a new Cyprus reunification plan can be put forward.