EU mulls talks on Cyprus

Finland, currently at the helm of the European Union’s presidency, is trying to organize high-level talks next Sunday to settle a dispute over Cyprus that threatens Turkey’s bid to join the bloc, diplomats said yesterday. «We have been asked not to speak about this, so I cannot comment. But I can say that we are continuously in close contact with the Finns,» Cypriot Foreign Minister George Lillikas was quoted as telling Reuters yesterday. Finnish and Turkish officials did not explicitly refer to the talks yesterday. Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos denied that Greece had been invited to take part. But Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja said, «We are still deeply engaged in trying to find a solution to the Cyprus issue and all parties… have appreciated our efforts.» According to details obtained by Reuters, Finland is proposing a trade-off under which Turkey would open some harbors to Cyprus, while Turkish Cypriots would be allowed to export goods to the EU from the port of Famagusta and Greek Cypriots could rebuild the abandoned resort of Varosha.