Turkey will not budge on Cyprus

Talks between Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and European Union foreign affairs officials in Brussels reached another impasse yesterday over the Cyprus issue and European defense policy. According to diplomatic sources in Brussels, Cem’s reply was not encouraging to a request by European Commissioner for enlargement, Guenter Verheugen, for Ankara to use its influence on Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and persuade him to go to UN headquarters for proximity talks with Cypriot President Glafkos Clerides. The same sources said that Cem’s negative response to the proposal was not surprising, given Ankara’s stance to date during UN-mediated talks on the Cyprus issue. Turkey also continues to refuse to allow the nascent European defense force to use NATO resources unless Turkey is given an equal voice in the decisions on the force. After a meeting with the EU’s foreign policy chief Javier Solana, Cem simply expressed the hope that the problem would be solved.

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