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A joint statement following the High-Level Political Dialogue meeting held in Ankara between the EU and Turkey said that the EU and Turkey welcomed the ongoing settlement talks in Cyprus and agreed that they will continue to give full and resolute support to the efforts of UN Secretary General`s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide towards achieving a comprehensive settlement.

The statement was issued by the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator of Turkey Ambassador Volkan Bozkır, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs/Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini and the EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn yesterday.

In the statement it is mentioned that the meeting of EU Heads of State or Government with Turkey on 29 November 2015 was a turning point in creating a new momentum in relations, including through a re-energized accession process and recognized the importance of overcoming together the common challenges ahead as key partners and strategic allies in the region. “To this end, today`s High Level Political Dialogue is an essential element of our overall framework of dialogue and cooperation. It provided us with the opportunity to discuss issues high on both of our agendas in a comprehensive manner and that will feed into the preparation of the next EU-Turkey Summit,” it added.

“Believing that the accession process constitutes the backbone of the relations, Turkey and the EU reiterated their determination to advance their comprehensive agenda to ensure that this fresh impetus yields concrete results,” it noted.

Concerning the refugee crisis and irregular migration, the statement noted that Turkey and the EU believe that there is a need to exert huge effort to address them. “They discussed the implementation of the Joint Action Plan which was activated at the 29 November Turkey-EU Summit. Measures by Turkey to further improve the socio-economic situation of Syrians under temporary protection, such as the adoption of legislation on granting them legal access to the labour market, were welcomed. Turkey exerts outstanding efforts so far to accommodate the more than two and a half million Syrians currently in Turkey,” it added.

It is also noted that energy is a topic of key interest in Turkey – EU relations. “Turkey stands out as a crucial partner for EU’s energy security and energy diversification. Both sides welcome the ongoing preparations for the High Level Energy Dialogue Meeting to be held on 28 January in Turkey and for the first High Level Economic Dialogue Meeting currently planned for April 2016.”

Regarding Syria, it is noted that Turkey and the EU stressed the urgent need to reinitiate the political process leading to a peaceful, inclusive and genuine political transition. Furthermore Turkey and the EU said that they stand united against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and condemn the heinous terrorist attacks which have claimed innocent lives in Turkey, the Member States of the European Union, as well as in many other parts of the world.

Turkey and the EU also agreed on a joint work plan for the next six months in order to maintain the new momentum and start the necessary preparations by holding a High-Level Political Dialogue prior to the second Turkey-EU Summit.

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