14 November 2004
Greek Cyprus State has said it wants to hold talks with Turkey to discuss the stalemate over the divided island which it says is crucial to Turkey's EU entry.
This is thought to be the first time a Greek Cypriot leader has made such a move to negotiate directly with Turkey, which does not recognise Greek Cyprus State.
In December, European Union leaders will decide whether to open accession negotiations with Turkey in 2005.
Turkey's EU candidacy could be blocked by member state Greek Cyprus.
"Now it is up to Turkey to accept this invitation and challenge," said Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos.
"In principle we are in favour of Turkey's candidacy... because we are convinced that a truly European Turkey will be a factor of stability in our region and a secure link between Europe and the Middle East," he said.
However, this was conditional on Turkey recognising the government of Cyprus as it does the governments of the other 24 member states, he said.
"Turkey must show that it understands and accepts that the setting of a date for the commencement of accession negotiations entails obligations towards the European Union and each member of the European family and consequently Cyprus too."
Greek Cyprus State joined the EU in May after a UN plan to reunify the divided island was rejected by Greek Cypriots in a referendum which Turkish Cypriots supported.
Greece and the international community do not recognise the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) created when Turkey seized the area in 1974 after a short-lived Greek-inspired coup.
Only Turkey recognises the TRNC.
Compiled from BBC and other sources:
Published: 2004/11/12 20:53:51 GMT
TŪ BBC MMIV