ISTANBUL (Anadolu Agency)–Speaking at the 31st session of Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers in Istanbul on Monday–Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul stressed that the Azeri-Armenian conflict still stands as one of the principle obstacles to regional stability–prosperity–and cooperation in the South Caucasus. "The time has come to find a peaceful solution to this conflict [while] maintaining the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. The Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani territories has to be brought to an end. This is in the interest of the regional countries as well as the international community. Turkey is ready to play its role in settling this issue."
Commenting on the Cyprus issue–Gul noted that it is time for the international community to give full backing to the Turkish Cypriots by engaging in direct economic–commercial–social and cultural contact. "The EU and the United States have already taken some steps with a view to putting an end to the isolation of Turkish Cypriots," Gul said–urging the Islamic World to also extend full support to Turkish Cypriot "Muslim Brothers."