UN Rejects News Reports on Direct Trade
The United Nations has rejected a report by Philelftheros newspaper that UN Special Adviser Alexander Downer encouraged Brussels officials to approve a draft regulation for direct trade with the Turkish-Cypriot community.
"This is clearly false. Had customary journalistic practices been followed this would have been evident," said a UN spokesman in Cyprus.
The article, which appeared in the January 30th issue of the newspaper, was reproduced by other media, said the UN. The "baseless claim" only serves to fuel mistrust in the island and "undermines the efforts of the United Nations to assist the two communities in finding a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem."
North Cyprus is not third country
In October 2010, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) said that EU trade with the northern part of Cyprus should be governed directly by EU single market and customs union rules, and not by the EU's rules for trade with third countries.
"Possible trade with the northern part of Cyprus based on article 207 of the Lisbon Treaty on international trade would wrongly imply that it is not part of the EU," said the European Parliament Legal Affairs Committee.
The EU has always considered Cyprus to have joined the EU as a whole, but upon accession by Cyprus in 2004, EU legislation was temporarily suspended in the areas not under the effective control of the government of the Republic of Cyprus.
Bigger Picture - Turkey EU Membership
Direct trade between the EU and Turkish Cypriots is opposed by the government, which says that it is the only authority that can tax and control trade on the island. The issue is part of the bigger picture of Turkey's EU accession talks; eight chapters of which which are blocked by Cyprus and the EU on the grounds that Turkey refuses to recognise the Republic of Cyprus as the country's legal administration.
Its refusal to recognise Cyprus and allow Cyprus-flagged traffic into its ports has been criticised by the EU, but Turkey remains adamant that unless the Turkish-Cypriot community's isolation is lifted through direct trade with the EU, it will not normalise relations with Cyprus.
Turkey is the only country in the world that recognises and supports the unilaterally-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.