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Minister of Foreign Affairs Marcos Kyprianou said on Monday that as long as Turkey is behaving like the classroom bully, Cyprus will not be able to give its consent to opening the chapter on energy in Turkey's EU accession negotiations.

Replying to questions after a meeting in Nicosia with Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs Miguel Angel Moratinos, Kyprianou said ''we do not have a philosophical problem in opening the chapter but the chapter on energy cannot open as long as Turkey is trying to prevent the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member state, from exploiting its own energy sources, based on international law.''

Kyprianou said it was up to Turkey to behave like a 21st century state which aspires to join the EU, in which case Cyprus would not have a reason to raise any objections.

''However, as long as Turkey is behaving as the classroom, the neighbourhood bully, Cyprus can certainly not give its consent,'' he added.

Regarding the Turkish government's move to implement a decree for explorations in the sea areas within the exclusive economic zones of Cyprus and Greece, Kyprianou said the Cypriot government was looking into the matter and that ''Cyprus, as other countries in the region, has determined its exclusive economic zone based on international law, the law of the sea specifically.''

''We will investigate Turkey's intentions and will make all necessary representations,'' he noted, adding that ''it is Turkey's obligation to normalise relations with countries in the region and peacefully solve any differences, and of course this includes Cyprus.''

Commenting on remarks by Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Davudoglu regarding a solution of the Cyprus problem by the end of the year, Kyprianou said Turkey itself was responsible for the lack of progress in negotiations to reach a Cyprus settlement.

He noted that if Turkey was in a hurry for a solution it should maintain a constructive stance towards the talks and encourage or allow the Turkish Cypriot side to be positive.

Kyprianou said ''it is ironic that Turkey, which caused the Cyprus problem, to appear as if in a hurry for a solution,'' adding that it is the Greek Cypriot side that is still suffering from the 1974 invasion and wants a just and viable solution the soonest possible.

Commenting on remarks by US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Matthew Bryza that if the process for a solution collapses it will be difficult to revive it, Kyprianou said ''in politics no one should speak about last opportunities because this is not at all constructive.''

Kyprianou said that time was one of the factors that should be taken into consideration in the sense that there is a problem with Turkish settlers and the arrogation of Greek Cypriot property.

He added that it was after initiatives by the Greek Cypriot side that the talks began and that ''it would be better to address such advice to the Turkish side because everyone knows that the delay is due to positions presented at the negotiating table by the other side and which are not in line with the aim of a solution.''

Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus have been engaged in UN-led direct negotiations since September 2008, with an aim to reunite the island.

Financial Mirror, July 20, 2009|||Cyprus Foreign Minister says Turkey behaving like a bully
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