Replying to a question concerning the recent visit of EU Commissioner Olli Rehn to Cyprus, Stephanou noted that the EU has shown its strong interest in the Cyprus question and has set up a working group under European Commission President Jose Manuel Baroso and Rehn as its Vice President.
“I believe this shows the EU readiness, which Rehn has conveyed, to contribute to efforts for a settlement and we want the EU to assist efforts under way through the direct negotiations,” he added.
Cyprus, which joined the EU in May 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.
Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat have been engaged in direct negotiations since early September last year, aiming at reunifying the island.
Financial Mirror, February 16, 2009