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Finland has withdrawn its proposals

Source: BRT  
27 November 2006

Finland has withdrawn its long-speculated package of proposals aimed at overcoming the stalemate reached in Turkey’s accession negotiations following Turkey’s refusal to open its ports to Greek Cypriot traffic.

A statement issued a short while ago by the Finnish foreign ministry said “the package of proposals” is being withdrawn after it became clear that “its efforts to help find a common ground for progress” have failed.

Earlier, the Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul met his Finnish counterpart Erriki Tuomioja in Tampere in Finland, on the sidelines of the meeting of the Euro-Mediterranean Foreign Ministers.

The two foreign ministers were expected to take up Finland’s latest proposals aimed at paving the way for progress on the issue.

Speaking just before entering the meeting, the Turkish Foreign Minister reiterated Turkey’s constructive approach towards Finland’s latest proposals aimed at overcoming the stalemate on Turkey’s refusal to open its ports to Greek Cypriot traffic, but stressed the fact that the Cyprus problem is a problem between the two sides in Cyprus itself and that it must be resolved by the two sides themselves.

As for the speculation that Maras was included in the Finnish proposals, the Turkish Foreign Minister repeated that the issue can only be solved as part of a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem.

Stressing the problem’s nature as one that directly involves the two sides in Cyprus, the Turkish Foreign Minister said the problem will-and-can only be resolved by the two sides in Cyprus itself.

“They must talk to each other” he said.

Earlier, speaking to reporters at Esenboga Airport before leaving for Finland, Mr Gul reiterated his country’s support for a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem and said the issue of Maras can only be solved as part of such a solution to be reached through UN-sponsored negotiations.

The European Commission is now expected to recommend to the EU Council to take further action against Turkey which strongly opposes any linkage being established between its EU membership process and the Cyprus problem.

Turkey says the Cyprus problem – which has been on the United Nations’ agenda for more than four decades now, will be solved through the United Nations and not the EU.

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