EU edging toward a compromise on Turkey

Progress was made yesterday during discussions between EU diplomats on the counter-declaration to Turkey’s refusal to recognize Cyprus, but Athens said total agreement was not reached and another meeting would be needed. «Today’s discussion took place in a constructive atmosphere and steps were made toward a clear European counter-declaration,» said Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos. «However, at this stage it was not possible to adopt the final text.» Koumoutsakos said the next meeting of the Council of Permanent Representatives would be next Wednesday. Cypriot Foreign Ministry spokesman Kypros Chrisostomides said that during negotiations several of the 25 member states, including France, supported Nicosia, which wants a stricter statement. However, the French ambassador in Nicosia, Hadelin de La Tour-du-Pin, urged Cyprus to accept the deal on offer, amid speculation that France and Britain have agreed to push for a compromise solution. The current text says that «prior recognition of all member states is a necessary component of accession» but Nicosia wants a more specific time frame for recognition to be imposed on Ankara.