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EU General Affairs Council decided to initiate direct trade with North Cyprus

Source: BRT  
23 January 2007

EU foreign ministers have approved the decision to start discussions on launching direct trade with North Cyprus. The decision is also expected to be addressed during the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council meeting in Brussels.

The text of the decision underlines the need to resume work for direct trade but refrains from making any stronger commitment.

The EU leaders had decided in principle last month to go ahead with the direct trade regulation for Turkish Cypriots, a promise made to the Turkish Cypriots in April 2004 but not yet fulfilled.

They had also decided to halt Turkey's EU negotiations in eight out of 35 policy areas due to Ankara's refusal to open its ports and airports to the Greek Cypriot administration.

EU sources underlined the adoption of the decision by the EU foreign ministers and say it will be a strong guideline for the EU working group to continue the detailed work.

EU Term President Germany, as part of its six-month program, promised to carry out strong efforts for the economic development of Northern Cyprus and resumption of UN talks for a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem.

The Council adopted the following conclusions:

"With respect to the implementation of its April 2004 conclusions, the Council notes the progress made in particular as regards the financial aid regulation the objective of which is to facilitate the reunification of Cyprus. Work aiming at the adoption of the Commission proposal for a Council Regulation on special conditions for trade with the areas of the Republic of Cyprus in which the Government of the Republic of Cyprus does not exercise effective control must resume without delay."

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