Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said the government continues to believe that two European Union regulations (on direct trade with the Turkish occupied north and on allocation of funds to the Turkish Cypriots) must not be linked.
He also said that remarks by Commission President Jose Barroso and Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos prove that Brussels wish to help efforts towards a political settlement and that Nicosia wants to see that happen as soon as possible.
‘Our position is clear. We seek to disassociate the two regulations so that the Turkish Cypriot community can get the EU funds amounting to 259 million euro,’ Chrysostomides said.
EU member states have approved the funds to help the economic development of the Turkish Cypriots, whose leadership has linked the allocation of the funds with the approval by the EU of the regulation on direct trade between the Union and the occupied part of the island.
Responding to questions, the spokesman said that if there was an attempt by the Commission President to change the legal basis of the trade regulation, this would confirm that ‘our position, which is shared by the Council Legal Committee, is correct and that without our consent the provisions of this regulation cannot be implemented.’
On remarks by Barroso, after meeting Papadopoulos on Monday, that the EU would like to have a more active involvement in Cyprus, the spokesman said ‘this proves that the EU wishes to help towards finding a solution.’
Responding to other questions, Chrysostomides said the occupied port of Famagusta could start operating under a joint Greek and Turkish Cypriot venture, under the EU, provided the fenced off area of Famagusta is returned to its legal inhabitants for resettlement.
Materials to rebuild the town of Famagusta, abandoned when its residents fled the advancing Turkish troops as they invaded in 1974, could be imported via the port, he said.
He added that matters relating to the two regulations were on the agenda of the Papadopoulos-Barroso meeting in Brussels on Monday.