The Cyprus government said on Friday that wider regional cooperation and coordination of action between governments of Cyprus and Turkey in an effort to handle avian influenza will be a good start in normalizing relations between the two countries.
Speaking to reporters, government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said the fact that there is a ceasefire line in Cyprus should not prevent such measures, and the government understands the need to take all measures to prevent the outbreak of bird flu in Cyprus.
"The Cyprus government expects the presidency of the EU and the Commission to offer their good services to achieve a wider regional cooperation and coordination of action between governments of Cyprus and Turkey," he said.
He said that cooperation could take place in the field of veterinary services, registering the paths that migratory birds follow and exchange of information and experience so that there is a common handling of the virus.
"It should not be interpreted that the cooperation affects political and legal reality of the area of the Republic of Cyprus which is not under the effective control of the government of the republic but is under an illegal military cooperation and full political-military control of Turkey," he said.
"The primary concern of the government of Cyprus is to protect health of all Cypriot citizens, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, and all those who are in the Republic of Cyprus and for this reason, it is doing everything that is humanly possible," he said.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops foiled an Athens-backed Greek Cypriot coup seeking union with Greece.
The government in the south is internationally recognized while Turkey is the only nation to recognize the northern government. Turkey refuses to recognize the Republic of Cyprus, though it started accession talks with the European Union earlier this month.