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    Turkey tells EU not to block bid with irrelevant political issues

    Hurriyet Daily News
    22.04.2009 - 11:23 | Son Güncelleme:

    ISTANBUL – Turkey delivered a message to European Union officials demanding entry negotiations not be blocked by political issues that are irrelevant to the negotiations process, during the Turkey-EU Troika foreign ministers' meeting in the Czech Republic's capital of Prague on Tuesday.

    In Tuesday's talks, it was decided to open the chapters on Social Policy and Employment and Taxation to negotiations during the EU presidency of the Czech Republic, Anatolian Agency, or AA, reported.

     

    The Cyprus issue was also discussed in detail in the meeting, the agency also reported citing diplomatic sources.

     

    Turkey has informed EU authorities that Turkey's guarantorship in Cyprus will continue and that Turkey supports a bi-zonal partnership based on political equality, the agency said.

     

    EU officials have told Turkish authorities that they are pleased to see improvement in relations between Turkey and Armenia, AA reported adding that they expressed that "opening of the Turkish-Armenian border will help the solution of a problem between Azerbaijan and Armenia".

     

    Noting the frozen Karabakh conflict, EU authorities said that they understand Azerbaijan's sensitivity.

     

    EU NEGOTIATOR BAGIS ARRIVES IN PARIS

    Turkey's Chief EU Negotiator, Egemen Bagis, who participated in the EU Troika meeting, traveled to Paris where he will discuss the current situation in Turkey-EU relations with French officials.

           

    Bagis will first separately meet with French Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Michel Barnier and the chair of the French Parliament's EU Committee, Pierre Lequiller, on Wednesday.

           

    He will also meet with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner the same day before attending a dinner to be hosted in his honor by Secretary of State in charge of European Affairs Bruno Le Maire.

     

    France is one of the loudest opponents of Turkey’s EU bid and French President Nicolas Sarkozy has continually proposed a privileged partnership option as an alternative to full membership.

     

    France, which up till now vetoed opening of five negotiation chapters directly related with Turkey's full membership, allowed two chapters to be opened during its term as EU president.

     

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