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EU Nations Resume Limited Entry Talks with Turkey

The European Union and Turkey opened limited membership talks Tuesday, in two minor policy areas, after French opposition prevented a third key area from being included.

The areas being discussed in Brussels include statistics and financial control.

On Monday, the European Union agreed to a limited resumption of entry-talks with Turkey, but stopped short of including economic and monetary policy.

Germany, which holds the rotating EU presidency, had planned to open talks during its six-month tenure on three of the mandatory 35 accession chapters that all candidate countries must complete.

But, ambassadors of the 27 EU countries have withdrawn economic and monetary policy issues from the agenda.

No official explanation was given for the change, but analysts note that France's new president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has voiced firm opposition to mainly-Muslim Turkey's EU membership.

EU enlargement issues must be approved by all member-countries.

EU officials began membership talks with Turkey in October of 2005. But, the union partially suspended negotiations on eight policy areas (or chapters) in December because of Ankara's refusal to grant access to its ports and airports by EU-member Cyprus. Turkey says it will not lift the ban until the union ends its isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.