The following item was issued by the VOA Newsroom for use in English and other language programs of the Voice of America on 5/24/02.
CN-100 05/24/02 14:42:36 EUR-09 GREECE - CYPRUS
Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou says Cyprus will join the European Union regardless of whether ethnic Greek and Turk Cypriots resolve their dispute over the island nation.
Foreign Minister Papandreou told V-O-A after meeting in Washington today (Friday), with U-S Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, that the two had discussed the whole Cyprus problem in detail.
Mr. Papandreou said Turkish Cypriots may be excluded from benefits associated with E-U membership if their northern enclave does not reach an agreement with the Greek-Cypriots.
Despite the urging of U-N Secretary General Kofi Annan to meet a June deadline for negotiations, direct talks between Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders have thus far been unsuccessful.
Among the main issues dividing the island is how to share power. Greek Cypriots want a unified island, while the Turkish community envisions a loose confederation of the two areas.