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Turkish FM, Greek counterpart meet over Cyprus
SHOTLIST: ATHENS, DECEMBER 13, 2013, SOURCE: AFPTV -Greek and EU flag outside Maximos Mansion (Prime Minister's office) -VAR at presser with Greek Foreign Affairs Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos SOUNDBITE 1 Evangelos Venizelos (man), Greek Foreign Affairs Minister (Greek, 20 secs): "The crucial point is that any agreement must be accepted by the Cypriot people by a referendum. That will be the final, essential criteria. There needs to be a legalization that will be given by the Cypriot people immediately with a referendum." SOUNDBITE 2 Ahmet Davutoglu (man), Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister (Turkish, 11 secs): "Greece and Turkey are in a period of constructive discussions and we want to see this for all topics." /// ------------ AFP TEXT STORY: Turkey-Cyprus-Greece-TRNC-diplomacy-peace Turkey says new Cyprus talks 'imminent' ANKARA, Dec 12, 2013 (AFP) - A resumption of stalled Cyprus peace talks appears "imminent" after the divided island's leaders made progress in resolving a standoff, a Turkish official said on Thursday. Hopes were high that the negotiations would resume last month but they have stuttered over the wording of a joint statement due to be made by the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities outlining basic principles for the new talks. "Both sides are continuing talks. The joint statement is almost ready, waiting for the Greek Cypriots to okay it," the Turkish official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP. UN-brokered negotiations were suspended in mid-2012 when Turkish Cypriots walked out in protest at the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus taking the European Union's rotating presidency. Last month, Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot leaders met in the buffer zone dividing the eastern Mediterranean island but no breakthrough was reported. Ankara says the disagreement stems from the Greek Cypriot insistence on including in the joint statement key parameters of a settlement including a single sovereignty for a reunified Cyprus. The Turkish Cypriots, who have been seeking a deal by next March, are also keen to include a timetable to ensure that the talks are not open-ended. But Turkey is pushing for the resumption of talks without preconditions. "Turkey is in favour of a negotiated settlement," another Turkish official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity. "We do not have any prejudice, or preconditions. We are ready to negotiate a two-state or a one-state solution but the lack of a solution will not last forever," the official added. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who said in October there was a "window of opportunity" to break the deadlock, is due to visit Greece on Friday and the breakaway Turkish Republic Of Northern Cyprus the next day. The fate of the island remains one of the major stumbling blocks to Turkey's negotiations with the European Union. Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third after an Athens-engineered coup in Nicosia seeking to unite Cyprus with Greece. The self-declared TRNC is recognised only by Ankara.
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