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“Totally unacceptable”: Cyprus and Greece join forces, reject EU draft on Turkey

Cyprus has rejected the draft on Turkey prepared for the summit of European Union leaders as “totally unacceptable.” Also Greece has raised objections saying that it does not reflect the balanced report submitted on Monday by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell.

Both the Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis expressed their objections to EU draft in joint statements after a meeting in Athens that where Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades is visiting on the occasion of the Independence Day celebrations.

The two leaders decided to follow a common line at the Summit.

“At the European Council, we will underline the reality that Turkish aggression against the Republic of Cyprus remains undermining Ankara’s European course and the resumption of talks on resolving the Cyprus issue,” PM Mitsotakis stressed.

President Anastasiades underlined the importance of the “European acquis” adding that “any decisions of the Summit should be based on the report of the Commission and High Representative Borrell.”

“If they [turkey] want to keep up and get closer to Europe, they must be ready to adapt to the principles, values ​​and conditions set by the EU,” Anastasiades said.

Speaking of Turkey, Mitsotakis said “we want open channels of communication without provocations and aggressive actions. Athens remains open without being naive,” PM Mitsotakis said.

Overall the EU “must insist on the credible implementation of its dual-approach policy towards Turkey. We welcomed the Borrell report, we stressed the need for the conclusions to move in the same spirit, he added.

The EU draft

The draft statement expresses a dual approach to Ankara, but with a greater emphasis on the positive agenda. It refers to the strategic interest of the EU for a stable and safe environment in the Eastern Mediterranean and in the development of a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship with Turkey.

It also welcomes the recent de-escalation in the East Mediterranean with the cessation of illegal drilling activities, the resumption of bilateral talks between Greece and Turkey and the renewed engagement with the Cyprus issue under the auspices of the United Nations.

The draft states further that the EU is ready to cooperate with Turkey on a number of issues provided that the current de-escalation is maintained and that the conditions set out in previous European Council conclusions are met, and that it will take further decisions at the European Council meeting in June.

At the same time, however, it reaffirms the determination of the EU, in the event of renewed challenges or unilateral actions that violate international law, to use the means and options at its disposal to defend the interests and interests of its member-states.

The report also noted Turkey deserved more financial support for hosting millions of Syrian refugees, as well as visa-free travel to the EU, and an expanded customs union.

However, it insisted that this will only be possible if Turkey respects human rights and shows greater flexibility over the divided island of Cyprus and hydrocarbon rights in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Cyprus’ objections

According to Bloomberg Brussels buro chief in Brussels, there are the points that Cyprus wants them added and deleted.

The EU leaders Summit is scheduled to take place on Thursday and Friday, March 25-26, 2021.

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