27 January, 2006
Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis discussed the issue of Cyprus with his British counterpart Jack Straw, who arrived in Athens on Thursday evening in the framework of a working visit. Earlier, Straw was received by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. Molyviatis noted that the Greek government examined the Turkish proposals on the issue of Cyprus very carefully.
"The conclusion is that in essence they do not differ from the proposals which had been tabled last May and which led nowhere," Molyviatis said.
"The thought of a quadripartite conference was revived," the foreign minister said, adding that "this framework is not suitable since the issue of Cyprus constitutes an international issue which is being discussed at the level of the United Nations."
Molyviatis recalled the statement by Commissioner Olli Rehn that Turkey has assumed obligations which it must fulfill and reiterated Greece's position on the reunification of Cyprus in such a way that all the inhabitants of the island will enjoy the benefits from accession to the European Union.
Referring to the Cyprus issue, Molyviatis said Greece wished that proper conditions ought to be created for the resumption of talks so as a new process could lead to success and not to a new failure.
Responding to reporters' questions whether the process for a solution to the Cyprus issue through the United Nations "has died" or "at least has weakened," Molyviatis said that "this depends on the political will of the involved sides and whether motivations exist." The Greek foreign minister added:” I personally believe that both exist. The maintenance of the present status quo is not to the benefit of anyone. On the contrary, an agreed solution is to the benefit of all. We shall make every attempt so that the process resumes in seeking a solution of the Cyprus problem."
Referring to proposals made by Ankara a few days ago on the resumption of negotiations aimed at finding a solution to the political problem of Cyprus, Foreign Secretary Straw said "as was said by both the United Nations and the commissioner responsible for enlargement Olli Rehn, the proposals constitute a positive step forward, which provides the opportunity for constructive negotiations", adding that "they could be examined carefully."
Asked whether the Turkish proposals on the Cyprus issue are compatible with Ankara's obligations on the ratification and implementation of the Customs Union Protocol, the British minister said that "every candidate member assumes specific obligations and it must fulfill them" and noted that "the proposals of (Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah) Mr. Gul concern a solution to the issue of Cyprus. They are two different things."
Moreover, in light of recent developments regarding the issue of Cyprus, Molyviatis communicated on Thursday with his Austrian counterpart Ursula Plasnik, whose country is currently holding the European Union presidency, to brief her on Greece's views on recent Turkish proposals on Cyprus.
In addition, relevant briefings had been made for the European Commission's relevant services and enlargement Commissioner Oli Rehn as of Wednesday, the announcement said, adding that instructions have been given to all Greek embassies in EU member-states to inform the governments of partners on Greek positions regarding the known Turkish positions.
The United States on Thursday welcomed Turkey's recent proposal on Cyprus, according to a written statement by State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack.
Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Thursday underlined his party's rejection of Turkey's recent proposals for the Cyprus issue, following a meeting with Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis at Papandreou's office in Parliament.
"Turkey has undertaken certain obligations toward the EU. It is trying to avoid these obligations and, in addition, is seeking the indirect, de facto recognition of the north part of Cyprus, the occupied section, in exchange," Papandreou stressed.
"I hope that, in the face of these proposals, the Greek government will also act in the same way that we did. We call on the government to make the appropriate moves in all directions, especially toward the EU, which must guarantee that Turkey will implement all its obligations without any deviation," he added.
He also stressed that the Cyprus problem was an international problem and one that involved the invasion and occupation of an independent state.
Papandreou had requested the meeting with Molyviatis and a briefing on Turkey's proposals earlier on Thursday, in a telephone call he made to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.
Source: Athens News Agency