Blair calls Turkey for Cyprus recognition

British Prime Minister Tony Blair met with the leader of Cyprus to make clear the subject of the Supplementary Protocol on the recognition of Greek Cyprus administration. He also had negotiations with the Turkish president.

Greek Cypriot leader Tasos Papadopulous having met with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, said Tuesday Turkey's acceptance to sign the Supplementary Protocol to start membership negotiations but its continued refusal to recognize the Greek Cypriot administration is "inconceivable". Prime Minister Tony Blair reaffirmed on Wednesday that a European Union customs deal about to be signed by Turkey had nothing to do with recognition of Cyprus by Ankara.

The two leaders discussed a declaration that Turkey will announce regarding its refusal to recognize the Greek Cypriot administration.

"It's simply important for us to restate the legal fact which is that the signing of the protocol does not involve the recognition of Cyprus," Blair, who holds the EU presidency, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Meanwhile, Greek Cypriot press wrote that Britain has been trying to find a solution that would not affect Turkey's EU bid and that would satisfy the Greek Cypriot administration as well.

Spanish newspaper El Pais, on the other hand, wrote British Ambassador to the EU John Grant had said they were trying to prevent Turkey's declaration not to include a statement indicating that their signing of the Supplementary Protocol did not mean recognizing Greek Cyprus.

Turkey is due to start EU entry talks on October 3, though it is not expected to join the bloc for at least 10 years.

After talks with Blair on Tuesday, Cypriot President Tasos Papadopoulos said it would be "unthinkable" for Turkey to sign the protocol without recognizing Cyprus.

Cyprus joined the EU last year despite the failure of a U.N.-brokered peace plan to reunite the divided Mediterranean island, which Turkish Cypriots backed but Greek Cypriots vetoed.

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