EU Says Turkey Must Show Progress on Cyprus in Membership Talks

(Bloomberg)–The commissioner in charge of the European Union’s expansion said Turkey must live up to its promises regarding the Republic of Cyprus to avoid "negative repercussions" on talks over Turkish membership in the EU.

EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn met with Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik Wednesday in Vienna. Austria holds the rotating presidency of the European Union.

"There is a clear necessity to make progress on Cyprus in 2006 in order to avoid negative repercussions on the process,” Rehn said. "Turkey has made commitmen’s including Cyprus–and Turkey is expected to meet these conditions.”

The 25-nation EU started membership negotiations with Turkey in October. Talks are expected to last a decade or more. EU leaders have said they reserve the right to suspend negotiations with Turkey if the government doesn’t allow Greek Cypriot ships and planes access to its ports and airports under the trade accord.

Foreign Minister Gul said today he believes that a solution to the Cyprus question should come from the United Nations.

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