German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas said Turkey’s road to the European Union is linked with the solution to the Cyprus problem, calling on the Turkish side to show a constructive stance towards the settlement of the Cyprus problem.
He was speaking in Berlin during a joint press conference with his Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides who said that Germany and Cyprus share common aims and interests in many fields.
Christodoulides, who is paying a two-day working visit to Berlin, met with Maas with whom he discussed the latest developments on the Cyprus problem, bilateral relations between the two countries, EU-Turkey relations, migration and other European and regional issues of common interest.
In his remarks, Maas welcomed Christodoulides as a great friend of Germany and the Foreign Minister of a country which is “especially an important partner of Germany in bilateral and European issues.”
Referring to the Cyprus problem, Maas said Germany supports the peace process towards the settlement of the Cyprus problem with a permanent and viable solution building relations of trust between the two communities so that a political settlement could be reached.
We want a constructive stance by both sides, mainly however from the Turkish side. A solution is very important not only for the two sides but also for the entire region, the German Foreign Minister said.
Maas also described the Cyprus government’s initiatives to develop relations of confidence with the countries of the region as very important, adding the exit of the UK from the EU was among the issues discussed as Germany is aware of the special relations between Cyprus and the UK.
On his part, Christodoulides described the talks he had with Maas extremely constructive, noting that “the aims and interests of our countries are common in many fields.”
The Cypriot FM said he briefed Maas on the developments concerning the Cyprus problem, noting solution can be achieved.
The two Ministers also discussed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Germany as well as the Cypriot concerns over the increased flow of irregular immigrants to the island.
Replying to a question, the German FM linked Tukey’s EU accession course with the solution of the Cyprus problem, stating that the solution of the Cyprus problem is one of the open issues in the relations between the EU and Turkey.
Cyprus, a member of the EU since May 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded occupying 37% of its territory.
The evolution of its relations with the EU is up to Turkey itself. An improvement in these relations would be beneficial for all, Mass added.
Stating that the normalisations of the relations between Turkey and the EU is a German goal as well, Maas recalled that during his visit to Turkey last week, he highlighted that the dialogue with Ankara should continue.
Responding to the same question, Christodoulides said Nicosia wants a neighbour close to the EU, a neighbour which respects the principles of the Union.
We expect Turkey to fulfil its obligations towards the EU towards Cyprus as well and to assume its role in the solution to the Cyprus problem. Whether Turkey would come closer to the EU is up to Turkey itself, the Cypriot FM added.
During his stay in the German capital,. Christodoulides will also meet with the Minister of State for Europe at the Federal Foreign Office, Michael Roth, the Chairs of the Foreign and European Affairs Committees of the Bundestag, Norbert Röttgen and Gunther Krichbaum respectively, as well as with officials of the Chancellery. He is also due to have dinner with the members of the Friendship Group with Cyprus of the Bundestag.