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13 July, 2002
Greek Minister of National Defense Yiannos Papantoniou said on Friday that UN-led talks to solve the Cyprus problem were not progressing in a satisfactory manner, due to continued Turkish intransigence.
Speaking after a meeting in Nicosia with President Glafcos Clerides, Papantoniou said ''there is no substantive progress on any of the core issues and there is certainly no acceptance of the main element, which is the establishment of a bicommunal, bizonal federation, which will be the basis, the foundation of the accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the European Union''.
Papantoniou noted that he discussed the Cyprus problem with President Clerides and said Athens and Nicosia believe that the talks are not proceeding in a satisfactory manner, due to Turkish intransigence.
''We hope that at some point an agreement will be reached, but of course we cannot rule out the possibility that Cyprus will join the EU without a political settlement'', Papantoniou said, adding that ''Cyprus will enter the Union anyhow, because the EU and the European Commission have said so''.
Cyprus, which opened accession negotiations with the EU in 1998, has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
Peace talks under UN auspices began in mid January between the president and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Rauf Dentkash.
Source: Athens News Agency