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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 07-12-01

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Cyprus attaches great importance to the Treaty on Open Skies but deeply regrets that it is still blocked from joining the Treaty by one participating state of the OSCE, Minister of Foreign Affairs Erato Kozakou Marcoullis said.

    Addressing the 15th Meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council in Madrid, Marcoullis said the OSCE is based upon a commitment to effective multilateralism, a concept of comprehensive security and an ambitious set of values with equal rights and responsibilities for all participating states.

    In this framework, we underscore the importance of the OSCE election commitments, and recognise the valuable role of ODIHR in election observation and in assisting participating states in implementing these commitments. We are confident that the implementation by ODIHR of the improvements and recommendations contained in the Ministerial Decision on Strengthening the Effectiveness of the OSCE strengthens further its internationally acknowledged role in election observation,`` she said.

    Marcoullis noted that strengthening the performance of the OSCE is an essential and continuous process. The finalisation of a draft Convention on the International Legal Personality, Legal Capacity, and Privileges and Immunities of the OSCE, is a significant step in this direction, she said, adding that we strongly support the adoption of the Convention and we remain open to further discussions in the course of next year, on the possibility of an OSCE Charter or a Statute.

    Regarding the future Chairmanships, Marcoullis said Cyprus commends the constructive efforts of the Spanish Chairmanship in reaching a compromise solution that is acceptable to all. Cyprus fully supports the draft decision based on a sequence for 2009, 2010 and 2011.

    ``As a Mediterranean country, Cyprus attaches great importance in strengthening dialogue and cooperation with our Mediterranean partners,`` she said, adding that it acknowledges the importance of working together towards increasing the level of involvement of our partners in the mainstream of OSCE activities.

    The adoption of the decision to establish a Partnership Fund, the Cypriot Minister said, will contribute in giving ``more impetus and concrete substance to our cooperation.``

    Cyprus is particularly pleased to have the opportunity to host an OSCE regional seminar on money laundering, due to take place in May 2008,`` she added.

    In her speech, Marcoullis noted that Cyprus attaches great importance to the Treaty on Open Skies, as a confidence and security-building measure that provides enhanced transparency in military activities`` and that ``we deeply regret that Cyprus is still blocked from joining the Treaty by one participating state of our Organisation.

    EU member state Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory. Turkey, which aspires to join the EU, has so far refused to implement numerous United Nations calling for the immediate withdrawal of its troops from this east Mediterranean island Republic.

    Cyprus submitted her application for membership to the Open Skies Treaty in 2002 and the application remains on the Agenda of the Consultation Committee of Open Skies.

    The application, however, cannot move forward due to Turkeys refusal to consent to it. Ankara has been raising objections to Cyprus` presence at the workings of the Organisation.

    Turkey has also been vetoing Cyprus membership in international organisations, arrangements and treaties, such as the Wassenaar Arrangement, the Organisation of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

    Furthermore, Turkey does not consent to the expansion of the EU-NATO dialogue with the participation of Cyprus (and Malta).

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