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EU Commissioner Urges Turkey to Resolve Cyprus Impasse


The European Union expansion commissioner says Turkey needs to fulfill its commitments this year toward resolving the Cyprus issue, or risk "negative repercussions" on its aspirations for EU entry.

Commissioner Olli Rehn met with Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik Wednesday in Vienna.

The EU wants Turkey to open its ports and airports to Greek Cypriot ships and planes as part of the entry process.

Gul says he believes a Cyprus solution should come from the United Nations.

Turkey began membership talks with the EU last year.

Meanwhile, in Athens, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos criticized the United States for efforts to ease the economic isolation of Turkish Cypriot areas of the Mediterranean island.

Mr. Papadopoulos says the United States is mistaken if it thinks it will be able to reconcile the divided country this way.

There has been little progress on reconciling divided Cyprus since Greek Cypriot voters rejected a U.N. plan in a 2004 referendum. Turkish Cypriot voters backed the plan.

Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders have both said they are willing to open talks on a number of bilateral issues, hoping that will lead to broader reunification talks.

Cyprus has been split between a Turkish Cypriot north and a Greek Cypriot south since Turkish troops invaded in 1974 in response to a Greek-backed military coup.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, Bloomberg and Reuters.
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