EU commissioner urges UN to push ahead with Cyprus talks
Nicosia, Aug 9 (CNA) -- EU enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn has called on the United Nations to push ahead with Cyprus talks to reach a comprehensive settlement of the island's long-standing political problem.
According to AFP, in a speech delivered in Hamburg, Rehn also stressed the importance of Ankara's recognition of Cyprus, adding that he was ''reasonably confident'' that EU – Turkey accession talks would start as scheduled on October 3.
Emphasising the recognition of Cyprus he noted that the EU expects a parallel process of talks for the comprehensive settlement of Cyprus to take place by the UN.
''To this effect, I urge the UN to become active to resume talks for a solution, and all EU member states, especially the permanent members of the Security Council, to contribute to this resumption,'' he added.
EU leaders agreed in December that Ankara could begin talks to join the bloc on Oct. 3.
Turkey signed a protocol last month extending its customs union to new EU members including Cyprus, fulfilling the requirements set by the EU to begin membership talks.
However, in a declaration issued simultaneously with the signing of the protocol, Turkey made it clear the signing did not change its position over non-recognition of the government of the Republic of Cyprus.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island’s northern third.