EU Commissioner for External Affairs Concerned
About Lack of Progress on Cyprus Issue

New York, 25 August 1997

The EU Commissioner for External Affairs, Mr. Hans Van den Broek, stated on 22 August that he was deeply concerned about the disappointing outcome of the UN-led direct talks between President Clerides and Mr. Denktash in Glion-sur-Montreux as reported by the UN Special Adviser for Cyprus, Mr Cordovez to the UN Security Council on 20 August.

Mr. Van den Broek felt that the precondition for progress set by Mr. Denktash, implying the freezing of the EU undertaking to start the accession negotiations with Cyprus in early 1998, was unacceptable and he reconfirmed that these negotiations would be launched by the beginning of next year as agreed by the EU in March 1995.

He also criticized the recent signing of an "association agreement" between Turkey and the Turkish-Cypriots, which had not been conducive to creating the right negotiating climate for the direct talks.

He underlined once again that a window of opportunity now exists to build a framework for a negotiated settlement of the Cyprus issue, before the start of the accession negotiations and that the adhesion of Cyprus to the EU would be in the interest of both communities on the island.

Attempts to frustrate any progress, even of a procedural nature, as demonstrated in Glion-sur-Montreux, are detrimental to the whole population of Cyprus. The Commissioner recalled the recent pledge by the Turkish Government to play constructive role in the search for a negotiated settlement of the Cyprus issue. He stressed that such a role would also favour the deepening of the relations between the EU and Turkey.

Mr Van den Broek, strongly urged the parties to reach an early agreement on the continuation of the direct talks and pledged the Commission's full support for further efforts to be undertaken by Mr. Cordovez.

In the meantime, the Commission will, in consultation with the government of Cyprus, continue its bicommunal activities and its projects aimed at informing the Turkish Cypriot community about the advantages of accession of Cyprus to the EU.

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