Athens.- German Foreign Minister Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier held talks with his Greek counterpart Dora Bakoyannis on Friday night and warned Turkey that it must honour commitments it has undertaken concerning the protocol on the customs union that Turkey should extend to the ten new European Union member-states, including Cyprus.
“We must make it clear to Turkey that it has the obligation of honouring all the commitments it has assumed and which concern the protocol that it must implement,” Steinmeier said after his meeting with Bakoyannis, adding that “it is up to all of us to lead Turkey in this direction,” Steinmeier told reporters.
Asked how pressure will be exerted in this direction, the head of German diplomacy said that “if we had resolved how, the previous summit would have been a great success. We have not reached this conclusion. There is no doubt that all of Europe believes the accession of Turkey will be an important step forward for all and for Turkey. We shall all work in this direction.”
Referring to the issue of Turkey’s accession course to Europe, that dominated the discussion between the two foreign ministers together with the question of the European constitution, Bakoyannis said “we are clear in our position. The Europeans are all cooperating very closely in the handling of this problem. We shall continue our efforts, expecting Turkey to realise that the implementation of the protocol is a precondition for the next step” noting that “we shall make an effort which we will continue throughout this period of time.”
On the question of scepticism prevailed on the chapter of science and research shortly before the last week’s EU summit, Steinmeier said that the Austrian EU presidency did all that it could to defuse the crisis, but stressed that “I do not have the feeling that this can constitute a solution for the continuation of the course of negotiations. The efforts must be continued in the future as well.”
Bakoyannis, referring to the German EU presidency at the beginning of 2007, said that “it will be an important presidency” since the period of reflection on the European constitution will come to an end during this presidency.
Steinmeier spoke on his part of the “challenge” of the German presidency and noted that “he has received a mandate to prepare a proposal so that an impetus will be given to this issue” in accordance with the directive given in Brussels “for the promotion of the European constitution to continue.”
Asked whether he will discuss the issue of the future purchase of fighter aircraft by Greece with the foreign minister during the dinner he was due to have with her later in the night, the German foreign minister said “I will not leave this issue at the corner. We will definitely discuss it.”
Both sides placed particular emphasis on close cooperation which, according to Bakoyannis, will continue, while her German counterpart spoke of the two countries “sailing in the same direction” since the day Bakoyannis assumed the foreign ministry.