USA raps Ankara on Cyprus

BRUSSELS (AFP) – The United States’ envoy for Cyprus called on Turkey yesterday to make more effort to resolve the island’s longstanding division, warning that its hopes of joining the EU depend on it. Thomas Weston, noting Washington’s keen wish to see Turkey be given a date to start EU entry talks next year, praised Ankara’s progress on meeting the EU’s political criteria for membership, but said the Cyprus issue was crucial. «Turkey should be doing more on the Cyprus issue,» he told reporters after talks with EU officials in Brussels. «We are making it as clear as we possibly can to Turkey that we, as a very strong… supporter of Turkey’s aspirations, do not see how it will be possible for those aspirations (to) be achieved unless there’s a solution to the Cyprus problem,» he added. Turkey has long been a candidate for EU membership, but was left off the list of 10 countries – including the internationally recognized part of Cyprus – due to join next year, due to concerns notably about its human rights record.

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