NEWS

Only Greek Cypriots in EU?

COLOGNE (AFP) – The EU commissioner responsible for expanding the the 15-member body to include other countries believes that only the Greek part of Cyprus should be welcomed into membership if the island remains divided. In an interview that was to be broadcast yesterday on the German public radio station, Deutschland Radio, Guenther Verheugen, European Commissioner for Enlargement, said that it had always been clear to EU chiefs that Cyprus would figure among the first countries to request membership of the EU. «(But) should the need arise, only the Greek part,» Verheugen said. «However, this is not the solution we would envisage. The clear position of the Commission has already been stated and we are moving forward on the question of Cyprus. «I had waited for this for some time and I had hoped that things would be in place by the autumn, but in any event, we still have enough time,» he added. Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash are to meet on January 16 for negotiations on the future of the island. [Meanwhile, it emerged in the last few days that Turkey has called for the breakaway republic that it supports in northern Cyprus to have a Flight Information Region (FIR) of its own. Ankara has also managed to freeze the use of 10 air corridors in Athens’s FIR in the Aegean by not agreeing to them, in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organization regulations. The Athens News Agency reported from Cyprus on Saturday that Turkey was trying to create two air corridors of its own from Turkey to Syria but Nicosia is pressing Damascus not to agree to them. The new corridors would deprive Cyprus of funds from the use of its own.] The railway network also operated smoothly, with the exception of the minor Inoi-Halkida and Diakofto-Kalavryta lines that shut down for some hours on Saturday due to fallen trees on the tracks.