France to back Germany over Turkey deadline

4th December 2006, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, Dec 4, 2006 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac will on Tuesday support German Chancellor Angela Merkel's stance that Turkey should effectively be given 18 months to open its ports to Cyprus as part of its EU membership ambitions, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

LONDON, Dec 4, 2006 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac will on Tuesday support German Chancellor Angela Merkel's stance that Turkey should effectively be given 18 months to open its ports to Cyprus as part of its EU membership ambitions, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

Citing unnamed officials, the newspaper said that the declaration would be part of demands made by France and Germany for tougher conditions for Turkey's bid to join the European Union.

At a NATO summit in the Latvian capital of Riga last week, Merkel said that a "review clause" on whether Turkey had opened its ports to Cyprus, an EU member, "would be desirable so that the council can review Turkey's progress, perhaps in 18 months' time."

Unnamed officials close to the French government told the newspaper that Chirac would endorse that stance at a summit near Saarbruecken, Germany, on Tuesday.

Such a condition was not in the European Commission's recommendations last week for the partial freezing of Turkey's membership talks -- it said that eight of the 35 policy chapters which all candidate nations must complete remain closed.

But both France and Germany believe that it is necessary to maintain pressure on Ankara, the officials told the FT.

Turkey does not recognise Cyprus's Greek-Cypriot administration.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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