Chirac puts Cyprus between Turkey and the EU

26th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 26 (AFP) - President Jacques Chirac said Friday that France wanted to discuss with its European Union partners Turkey's refusal to recognise Cyprus, a presidential spokesman said.

PARIS, Aug 26 (AFP) - President Jacques Chirac said Friday that France wanted to discuss with its European Union partners Turkey's refusal to recognise Cyprus, a presidential spokesman said.

The French leader "reminded the president of the (European) Commission that this declaration poses political and legal problems and that it's not in the spirit of what one expects from a candidate to join the Union", the spokesman said.

"That's why we want to discuss this with our partners" at the next EU foreign ministers' meeting on September 1-2, he said.

Chirac told European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso that France "had questions over the interpretative declaration Turkey added to its protocol of adhesion."

Turkey on July 29 signed an accord extending a customs agreement to the newest EU members, including Cyprus, but declared in an annexe that this did not amount to recognition of the Greek Chypriot government.

Chirac initially enthusiastically backed Turkey on one day joining the European Union, but French voters' fears that the bloc could not assimilate the Muslim country -- expressed in an embarrassing defeat of his May referendum on the now moribund EU constitution -- have prompted him to change course.

His government said earlier this month that preliminary membership negotiations due to take place with Turkey on October 3 might be put back if Ankara did not recognise the Republic of Cyprus.

Turkey has said it is upset over France's change of position and asserted that its position towards the Greek Cypriot administration will remain unchanged until a three-decades-old conflict over the island is resolved and the Turkish and Greek communities of the island are reunified.

Turkey only recognises the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, proclaimed in 1983, nine years after Turkish troops occupied the northern third of Cyprus in response to an Athens-engineered Greek Cypriot coup in Nicosia aimed at uniting the Mediterranean island with Greece.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, Turkey, Cyprus, EU, Chirac, European constitution, Jose Manuel Barroso

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