London.- by Kyriakos Tsioupras, (CNA)
The Cyprus problem is an immediate obstacle to progress in the accession process of Turkey and the British government supports all efforts towards a solution on Cyprus and encourages Turkey to implement the additional Ankara Protocol, Lord Howell, Minister of State at Foreign and Commonwealth Office has said.
Responding to a question at the House of Lords by Lord Magginis whether, following the arrest of General Mladic, the British government supports action to bring to justice those responsible for similar crimes committed in Cyprus in the period 1963-74, Lord Howell said “the UK government has no plans to pursue this line of enquiry. The UK remains fully committed to their support for the current round of UN led talks in Cyprus, seeking to end the continued division of the island.”
In oral answers to questions on Wednesday, Lord Howell stated Turkey’s EU membership has the full support of the government, subject to the vigorous application of the accession criteria.
“The Cyprus problem is an immediate obstacle to progress in the accession process. We support all efforts towards a solution on Cyprus and encourage Turkey to implement the additional Ankara Protocol…. I have mentioned one obstacle, that of Cyprus, which is, obviously, very difficult. If we make progress on that and the Turks can admit Greek Cypriot ships to their ports under the Protocol we will definitely be moving in a positive direction,” he added.
Βaroness Knight, who declared an interest as chairman of the all party group in the House of Lords for the northern Turkish occupied part of Cyprus, said that Greece’s membership of the EU and Turkey’s lack of it is very often a severe barrier to the settlement of the Cyprus problem. Lord Howell said it would be excellent if the parties concerned could see a way to solving their problems and this long standing issue of the division of Cyprus.