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Turkey Agrees to EU Membership Talks Framework

Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul says he is heading to Luxembourg to open membership talks with the European Union.

Mr. Gul spoke to reporters in Ankara just hours after Turkish officials received a framework agreement for the negotiations from EU foreign ministers.

The EU ministers resolved differences over the document after Austria lifted its objection to offering Turkey full membership in the bloc.

Earlier Monday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice discussed the EU bid by telephone. Turkey would be the first country with a majority Muslim population to join the European Union.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw had warned failure to allow Turkey into the bloc could damage relations between Islamic and Christian countries.

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