Wien, 15. October 2009 Press release

Spindelegger: "Turkey must increase pace of reforms"

Foreign Minister meets with his Cypriot colleague Markos Kyprianou

Vienna, October 15th 2009 - "The political, cultural and economic relations between Cyprus and Austria are traditionally close and friendly. With the accession of Cyprus to the EU and the Eurozone they have gained further momentum. Today, we share positions on many European and international issues and act in concert," stated Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger at a meeting with his Cypriot counterpart, Markos Kyprianou, in Vienna.

The main topics at the meeting were the EU enlargement process and the progress reports presented this week by the European Commission. "A successful continuation of the negotiations with Turkey ultimately depends on Ankara’s will to carry out reforms and its willingness to strike compromises. Turkey must move forward as regards the implementation of the Ankara Protocol, as repeatedly called for by the European Commission, and must increase the pace of reforms. She cannot mark time and at the same time expect the negotiations to show progress," stated Spindelegger. In this process the opening of Turkish ports and airports to Cyprus was of particular importance.

At the same time the Foreign Minister underlined Austria’s clear, straightforward position on the negotiations with Turkey: "We want a Turkey that is Europe-oriented and open. We are committed to negotiations where the results are open, but without any automatic accession mechanism."

The talks also focused on the Cypriot peace process and the efforts for unification of the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot groups. "The time has come to tear down the last dividing wall in Europe. Only negotiations based on mutual respect and a willingness to strike compromises can ensure a peaceful life together in the long run," concluded Spindelegger.

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