UK welcomes proposal by the Cyprus Government
for Turkish Cypriot participation
in the EU accession talks

March 17, 1998

British Foreign Minister Robin Cook, who on his way to Egypt yesterday (16.3.98) made a short stop at Larnaca Airport, expressed satisfaction with EU consensus over the opening of accession talks with the Republic of Cyprus and welcomed a proposal by President Clerides for Turkish Cypriot participation in the EU accession talks.

Speaking to reporters at Larnaca Airport Mr. Cook said "We are making progress on the application of Cyprus to the EU" and added "Britain which is currently the President of the EU, strongly supports the application of Cyprus."

The Foreign Secretary expressed the view that "Cyprus is one of the strongest candidates, in terms of a very well developed economy. There has been a lot of progress over the last few years in bringing its laws into line with the EU and I would like to see this application succeed."

The British official reiterated that the solution of the Cyprus problem should not be a condition of Cyprus coming into membership with the EU and stressed that they would like to see all the people of Cyprus benefit from EU membership.

Commenting on President Clerides' proposal for Turkish-Cypriot participation in the Cyprus negotiating team with the EU, Mr. Robin Cook said: "I think it is a realistic and fair offer and our High Commission here (Nicosia) is in consultation with the leaders of the Turkish-Cypriot community urging them to accept that. It is now a matter firmly in their court. But I hope that they will respond and they will respond positively."

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