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Turkey urges Greece to contribute to Cyprus peace talks
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08:26, September 04, 2009

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Turkey on Thursday urged Greece to support ongoing peace talks aimed at reaching a settlement on the ethnically divided Cyprus island, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.

"As one of the guarantor countries, Greece should extend constructive support and contribution to the process on the island and to the goal to reach a comprehensive settlement by the end of this year," Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Burak Ozugergin was quoted as saying.

Ozugergin's remarks came two days after a statement by his Greek counterpart alleged that Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's recent visit to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) "contradicted United Nations resolutions on Cyprus."

Ozugergin said Davutoglu's visit to the TRNC was part of Turkey's efforts to secure a comprehensive solution by the end of 2009.

Cyprus has been divided since the Turkish military intervened and occupied the island's north following a coup by a group of Greek officers in 1974. The Cyprus issue is hampering Turkey's bid to join the European Union, while Greek Cypriots represent the island in the bloc.

The Greek and Turkish Cypriot authorities have been engaged in slow-moving comprehensive negotiations since last September in a renewed effort to reunify the eastern Mediterranean island.

The Greek Cypriot side cancelled a second round of talks between leaders of the two communities that had been scheduled for Thursday in the UN-controlled buffer zone.

It complained that the Turkish Cypriots carried out long ID checks that resulted in the turning back of 650 pilgrims trying to enter the Turkish north to reach an Orthodox church there, which broke the two sides' agreement.

Turkish Cypriot authorities maintained that the pilgrims failed to obey crossing rules and some were simply not on a prepared list.

Leaders of the two sides agreed Thursday to resume reunification talks on Sept. 10 and not let the dispute over pilgrimages derail the peace process.

Source: Xinhua

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