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Media Watch 2003

17 May 2003
Source: Sunday Mail
Author: George Psyllides
Comment: The following article appeared in the Sunday Mail of Nicosia on 17 May 2003
EU to ease trade with Turkish Cypriots, but says there is no embargo to lift

THE EUROPEAN Union yesterday rejected Turkish claims that it was maintaining an embargo against the occupied areas in Cyprus, reiterating that the European Court of Justice had refused to allow certificates of origin for goods from an unrecognised entity.

“I reject the word embargo because no embargo has been imposed on Turkish Cypriot products,” European Commission enlargement spokesman Jean-Christophe Filori said yesterday.

Filori added that the European Court in 1994 had refused to accept export certificates issued by the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state because the EU did not recognise it.

Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said yesterday he expected the EU to take steps to end the ‘embargo’ on the Turkish Cypriots – a move he said would accelerate changes on the island.

Filori confirmed the EU executive would make proposals on June 4 to ease Turkish Cypriot exports to the bloc.

“In early June, the Commission will make proposals to favour a rapprochement between the north and the south, consisting among others of measures aiming in facilitating trade from the northern part of Cyprus to the rest of the EU,” Filori said.

The proposals also include the funding – to the tune of€15 million – of various programmes.

Gul, who was visiting Brussels for talks with the EU, told reporters steps would soon be taken to ease the ‘trade embargo’ on the occupied north.

“Both Turkey and Turkish Cyprus are about to take important steps in the issue;

“You will learn from the EU in the coming days about their extent, how they will work, what they will be,” Gul told a news conference.

Meanwhile the Greek Foreign Ministry yesterday categorically rejected Turkish wire reports that the Foreign Ministers of Greek and Turkey had agreed to co-operate in lifting the ‘embargo’ on the occupied part of the island.

Ministry Spokesman Panayiotis Beglitis said the “Turkish mass media continue their favourite tactic of manufacturing information, twisting and misinforming, in an effort to impose their own reality.”

Beglitis said the Union’s position was clear.

“Turkey and the Denktash regime should respect it, as they should contribute in the solution of Cyprus’ political problem within the United Nations framework and on the basis of the Annan plan,” Beglitis said."