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Friday, April 19, 2013

European Parliament calls for the withdrawal of occupation troops from Cyprus

The European Parliament has urged Turkey to withdraw its troops from Cyprus, return the fenced-off city of Famagusta to its legal owners, end the flow of illegal settlers in the occupied part of Cyprus and implement the Ankara Protocol.

In a resolution on the 2012 progress report on Turkey, members of the European Parliament expressed once again their strong support for the reunification of Cyprus, based on a fair and viable settlement for both communities.

The resolution was adopted on Thursday by the European Parliament plenary session by 451 votes in favour, 105 against and 45 abstentions.

The resolution underlined the urgent need for an agreement between the two communities on how to proceed with substantive settlement negotiations, so that the negotiating process, under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General, can soon regain momentum.

Furthermore it urged Turkey to begin withdrawing its forces its troops from Cyprus and to transfer the sealed-off area of Famagusta to the UN in accordance with UNSC Resolution 550 (1984).

MEPs called on Turkey to refrain, in accordance with the principles of international law, from any new settlement of Turkish citizens in Cyprus, as this would continue to change the demographic balance and reduce the allegiance of its citizens on the island to a future common state based on its common past;

They deplored Turkey’s refusal to fulfill its obligation of full, non-discriminatory implementation of the Additional Protocol to the EC-Turkey Association Agreement towards all Member States and recalls that this refusal continues to have a profound effect on the negotiation process.

MEPs expressed their regret hat Turkey had "missed an important opportunity to start a process of engagement and normalisation of relations with Cyprus" during the Cypriot Presidency of the Council.

The resolution stressed that progress towards the normalisation of Turkey’s relations with the Republic of Cyprus is urgently needed in order to give new momentum to the EU-Turkey accession negotiations.

The resolution also called on the Government of Turkey to sign and ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) without further delay and recalled the full legitimacy of the Republic of Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic Zone, in accordance with UNCLOS.

A pro-Turkish lobby failed to include amendments in the resolution aiming at giving to Turkish Cypriots the status of observers at the European Parliament and opening direct trade between the Turkish-occupied area of Cyprus and the EU.



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