|Author (Person)||Cronin, David|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.7, No.41, 8.11.01, p4|
EUROPEAN Commission head Romano Prodi and enlargement chief Günter Verheugen have come under attack for failing to visit Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas during their recent visit to Cyprus.
UK Liberal MEP Sarah Ludford says it is regrettable that neither of the commissioners travelled north to visit the area governed by Turkish Cypriots. The London deputy, who was in Cyprus at the same time, met Denktas and other representatives of both the Greek and Turkish communities. "The EU can't ignore the fact that Denktas runs an administration in Northern Cyprus," she said. "Let's be pragmatic about this. We've got to talk to him; otherwise we could just reinforce the bunker."
Verheugen's spokesman, Jean-Christophe Filori, recently said the Commission's policy was to invite Denktas to meet its members alongside the official Cypriot delegation but could not accommodate his desire for separate talks. Although Turkey stands alone among the international community in recognising the entity controlled by Denktas as a state, Ludford said the EU "ought to be able to acknowledge the existence of his authority, without getting bogged down in the business of legal recognition".
She argued that it would not be in the Union's interest to accept Cyprus as a new member, without a decision accepted by both communities on its long-term status. "The EU needs to be more pro-active and engaged in providing an environment for political bridge-building towards a settlement."
Stavros Pappayianneas, spokesman for Cyprus' EU embassy, said Denktas had not accepted the Commission's 1998 invitation to take part in the accession talks, alongside representatives of the Nicosia government. "That invitation is still open and the Turkish Cypriots still haven't answered," he added. "Nobody is saying the EU shouldn't speak to Mr Denktas." Meanwhile, the Commission has expressed concern about the hardening of Ankara's rhetoric on Cyprus, a front runner in the enlargement race. Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit had warned that Turkey could annex the northern part of Cyprus if the island joined the EU before a settlement to its dispute is reached.
European Commission head Romano Prodi and enlargement chief Günter Verheugen have come under attack for failing to visit Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas during their recent visit to Cyprus.
|Countries / Regions||Cyprus, Malta|