NEWS

EU urges Turkish flexibility on Cyprus

The European Union yesterday urged Ankara to show more flexibility over Cyprus, while a US envoy met with officials in Turkey in a bid to restart intercommunal talks on the island’s future. In a statement, the EU expressed disappointment at the continued refusal of the Turkish Cypriots, closely allied to Ankara, to return to the UN-brokered talks. (The EU) continues to back unreservedly the efforts of the UN secretary-general to resume – without preconditions in line with Security Council resolution 1250 – the search for a comprehensive and lasting settlement, it said. (It) calls on all parties involved to cooperate in the process with a view to achieving a political settlement before the end of the negotiations for Cyprus’s accession to the EU. The problem of Cyprus’s division has become more acute as the internationally recognized government of the island moves toward completing its EU accession negotiations in 2002. The EU says a settlement is not a precondition for Cyprus’s accession, but it is concerned about the political and diplomatic implications of admitting a still-divided island. EU diplomats say there is still no sign of Turkey putting pressure on the Turkish Cypriots to return to the talks. The US State Department’s special envoy for Cyprus, Thomas Weston, held what he called constructive discussions on the future of Cyprus in Ankara yesterday, Anatolia news agency reported. We’ve talked about ways to support the good offices mission of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Weston said. (Reuters, AFP) Structural reforms expected