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Archbishop Demetrios meets with US Undersecretary
2005-09-13 17:35:22

by Apostolis Zoupaniotis

New York, Sep 13 (CNA) – The Cyprus problem, Turkey's European prospects, the name of FYROM and the re-opening of the Theological School of Halki were on the agenda of a meeting between Archbishop Demetrios of the Americas and US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns in New York.

Speaking after the cordial meeting, Archbishop Demetrios praised Ambassador Burns as a distinguished person, who is dedicated to the principles of freedom, independence and human rights.

Responding to questions on progress on the issues under discussion, Burns said hard work has to continue.

''My government, going back several administrations, has been a firm supporter of the reopening of Halki Seminary. And I' ve been there myself and I have personal account of the need of the Church. So, we are continuing to keep this issue in our agenda with the Turkish government'', he said.

On the issue of a statement by the EU with regard to Turkey's European course, the US official noted the US was not an EU member and therefore does not wish to interfere in the affairs of the EU.

''Our position is well known. We think in the long run it makes sense for Turkey to have a path towards membership because that would be the best way to help insure that Turkey’s future is tied in with the Western Democracies and is based on freedom and democracy and economic liberalism. We very much support this. The negotiations are in a delicate stage'', he concluded.

EU members, under the current British presidency, are locked in consultations to try and reach consensus on a counter-statement to Ankara's unilateral declaration that it does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member.

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