04 October, 2005
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has welcomed an agreement to start EU accession talks with Turkey, noting that this day is historic ''for the European Union and the international community''.
Straw said 30 hours of consultations and only three hours of sleep worth it, pointing out that Turkey has a long road ahead until the full membership.
''It is now more than 40 years since the prospect was first held out to Turkey. It is going to be a long road ahead but I have no doubt that if bringing Turkey in is the prize it is worth fighting'', said Straw as the formal launch of the talks was expected to take place in the early hours of Tuesday.
''We are all winners: Europe, the existing member states, Turkey and the international community'', the President of the Council said.
The accord cleared the way for talks with the Turkey to go ahead, after marathon talks overcame Austrian and Turkish objections.
He thanked Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn and High Representative Javier Solana, the UK diplomatic service and all his European counterparts, noting that ''every enlargement makes EU stronger''.
In their statements Rehn and Solana thanked, on their part, the British Presidency outlining the stages of the procedure that brought Turkey and the EU to Monday's development.
Source: Athens News Agency