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EU's Barroso warns Turkey on Cyprus issue

Written by: Staff

HELSINKI, July 3 (Reuters) European Union accession talks with Turkey are generally on track, but progress is needed on the Cyprus issue to avoid serious problems, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said today.

''Generally speaking the negotiations are on track,'' Barroso told a news conference in Helsinki, but he added that failure by Turkey to implement a protocol opening its ports to Cypriot traffic ''would have of course serious repercussions''.

Barroso said it was encouraging that Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat had met today for the first time in more than two years.

''Of course the settlement of that issue would make things much easier for the progress of our negotiations,'' he said.

''They are not strictly linked, both are separate things, anyway it is quite obvious that we need also progress in the Cyprus issue.'' REUTERS SHR HS1536

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