Turkey says it is ready to sign a key EU customs agreement, but will also issue a declaration making clear the accord does not imply its official recognition of the Greek Cypriot government.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, in London for talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, said Wednesday Ankara would sign the EU protocol soon. The accord extends Turkey's custom union with the EU to its 10 new members - including Cyprus.

The agreement has been a key stumbling block for opening Turkey's membership talks with Brussels, as Ankara only recognizes the Turkish enclave in northern Cyprus.

Mr. Blair, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, said it was important to restate thatthe agreement does not in any way legally involve Turkish recognition of Cyprus.

Ankara is due to start entry talks with EU officials in October.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.