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Kasoulides presses Turkey to push forward with talks

Foreign Minister Ioannis kasoulides


Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said on Monday that Turkey has no excuse not to push forward on settlement talks now that the April 16 referendum is over.

“There is no further excuse for Turkey not to advance on the remaining parts of each and every chapter of the negotiations,” he told the Council of Europe’s (CoE) parliamentary assembly in Strasbourg.

He said he was convinced that now the referendum was over, Turkey would pick up the pace as regards the settlement talks.

The minister, who is in Strasbourg as the chairman of the CoE’s Committee of Ministers, also signed on Monday the additional protocol to the CoE’s Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism, which provides that the recruitment or training for terrorism or financing it constitutes a criminal offence.

The additional protocol is intended to supplement the provisions of the convention  – opened for signature in Warsaw in 2005 – as it provides a legal framework for European states to implement their obligations under resolution 2178 of the United Nations Security Council on “threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts”.

It is aimed at preventing and limiting the flows of foreign terrorist fighters to countries such as Syria and Iraq, by criminalising participation in a terrorist group or travelling abroad for the purpose of terrorism, as well as training, organising or funding travel for that purpose.

Kasoulides said that the additional protocol will enter into force on July 1.

Cyprus has held the chairmanship of the CoE since last November until May when the Czech Republic takes over.

Kasoulides also addressed the CoE’s parliamentary assembly (Pace) where he gave an account of the actions taken during Cyprus’ presidency.

In addition to the battle against terrorism, a convention has been drafted on tackling offences relating to cultural property, Kasoulides said. He expressed the hope that the convention in question would be adopted in the next CoE ministerial session which is to be held in May in Nicosia.

As regards promoting inclusive societies where all members enjoy equal rights, he said, “we are particularly pleased, therefore, that the Council of Europe’s new strategy for the 80 million people with disabilities living in Europe was officially launched in Nicosia in March”.

Kasoulides said that the migration crisis is another major challenge for Europe today and that the CoE “as a guardian of democratic values and a pillar of human rights protection in Europe, has a duty to remain vigilant over the protection of migrants’ and refugees’ rights”.

He added that the CoE members ought to also ‘take a stand against the rise of racism and intolerance which threaten the cohesion of our societies’.

He added that Cyprus will continue to contribute to the CoE efforts when its chairmanship is over.





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