29 April, 2008
A solution to the Cyprus problem must take into consideration the fact that Cyprus is a member of the European Union, Greek deputy foreign minister Yannis Valinakis said in an interview appearing Saturday in the Cyprus daily 'Fileleftheros', stressing that the EU comprised the biggest guarantor power for all its member-states.
Valinakis said that the Cypriots, in their entirety, today feel the "European security umbrella" protecting them, which he said was evident in their smooth, without any substantial problems, movement throughout the entire island.
Asked whether this matter has been discussed with Britain and Turkey -- which together with Greece comprise the three guarantor powers under Cyprus' independence treaty -- Valynakis replied that "Greece and Britain, as partners in the EU, always have open channels of communication", while with Turkey, contacts were taking place on a series of topics having to do with bilateral relations as well as Turkey's EU accession efforts.
In view of a new Cyprus solution effort on the horizon, Valinakis sent a message to Ankara to abandon its tough, unproductive positions and to shape up to the content of the recent statement by the UN Security Council president clarifying that reunification of the island republic must be founded on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation.
Regarding concern over domestic political developments in Turkey, the Greek deputy minister said that those developments should not serve as a pretext for Ankara to avoid taking the practical steps that would contribute to a functional solution based on the UN resolutions and the EU principles and values.
On Turkey's relations with the EU, Valinakis stressed that Athens backs the neighboring country's accession course, but on condition that Ankara fulfills all its commitments to the EU.
Source: Athens News Agency