Wien, 27. November 2006 Press release

Plassnik: "Preventive crisis management must now take effect"

27.11.2006

Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik on Finnish mediation efforts

in Cyprus issue

Vienna, 27 November 2006 - Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik responded to the statement by the Finnish EU Presidency, according to which partial deblocking of the Cyprus issue would no longer be possible under the Finnish Presidency, with a call for crisis prevention. In view of the December meeting of the EU foreign ministers the European Commission was expected to swiftly submit the recommendations and proposals announced some time ago.

"Symbolic gestures will not be enough," warned Plassnik, who recalled her proposal made at the last EU Council meeting for a mutually agreed "break" in the negotiating process. "Nobody can seriously want a derailment of our relations with Turkey. The EU and Turkey should undertake intensive efforts to maintain a positive atmosphere of respect for each other. Therefore, we should first assess the situation objectively. It is of no avail to either Turkey, Cyprus or the EU if we simply deceive ourselves and deliberately ignore this deadlock. But neither should we waste our energy on negotiations which we know are not likely to make any headway at all in the near future," said the Foreign Minister.

It would therefore be better to agree on a deliberate break so tensions can be released, unfinished business brought to a conclusion and new momentum built, recommended Plassnik. "Turkey will have to clarify certain questions for itself. A break could also be used for this purpose," continued the Foreign Minister.

"In the epochal process of Turkey's rapprochement with the EU, the European Union must prove itself to have two qualities: patience and steadfastness. This, of course, also entails reminding Cyprus of its duty," concluded the Foreign Minister.

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