Athens, Nicosia irked by EU stand on Turkey

Athens and Nicosia yesterday expressed their disappointment with the European Union’s British presidency for failing to adopt a tough stance against the refusal by EU candidate Turkey to recognize Cyprus. «The (statement) of the British presidency must be improved to satisfy the need for a clear European response (to Turkey’s refusal) that will express the general attitude of member states,» Greek government spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos said after the summit of EU permanent representatives in Brussels. He did not elaborate. According to diplomats, the British statement said Turkey must extend an EU customs protocol to all bloc members. But Cypriot government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomidis accused Britain of failing to be objective. If the EU presidency fails to issue a more satisfactory statement at today’s summit of EU foreign ministers in Wales, Nicosia will refuse to discuss a framework for Turkish talks, he said. Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis is to meet Turkish FM Abdullah Gul on the sidelines of today’s summit.