Barroso calls for more active EU involvement in Cyprus question
by Nicos Bellos
Brussels, Feb 28 (CNA) - European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called for a more active EU involvement in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.
Speaking after meeting with Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos at the Commission headquarters in the Belgian capital, Barroso said they had a ''cordial and frank discussion.''
Referring to Cyprus, Barroso said conditions were good to achieve progress following the voting in the illegal elections in the Turkish occupied areas and in view of the commencement of negotiations between the EU and Turkey.
He said the Cyprus problem is becoming an EU issue and that the EU would like to have a more active involvement, noting however that the issue will remain under UN auspices.
Barroso said that a climate of trust must be consolidated, adding that this was ''something which the EU cannot impose but instead facilitate.''
President Papadopoulos assured Barroso over the Cyprus government's readiness to make every new effort to solve the Cyprus problem and expressed hope that this opportunity will soon come.
Answering a question, Barroso said that all parties involved in Cyprus must work for a solution, and that includes Turkey, noting that Ankara is told this at every opportunity.
He said conditions were good for a settlement, and in view of the start of accession negotiations with Turkey. Barroso also said so-called prime minister of the puppet regime in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus, Mehmet Ali Talat, has told him that the Turkish Cypriot community is more and more interested in EU matters.
Regarding the regulations for financial assistance to Turkish Cypriots totaling 259 million euro and direct trade with the occupied areas, Barroso said it was a European issue and concerns only the EU.
Tomorrow, President Papadopoulos will meet Vice President of the Commission Margot Wallstrom, Cypriot Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection Markos Kyprianou and Greek Commissioner for the Environment Stavros Demas.