UK's straw argues for Turkey's EU bid, says Cyprus partition may be needed
Obstacles to Turkey's admission into the European Union should be eliminated, former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw wrote in an op-ed in yesterday's Times of London. In a column entitled "No ifs or buts, Turkey must be part of the EU," Straw said that the Cyprus issue is being used as a pretext by those who can't tolerate a Muslim country's accession into the Union, and that the EU needs Turkey more than Turkey needs the EU. He also argued that the international community must break "a taboo" and consider formal partition of Cyprus into two permanent states if ongoing peace talks fail to produce a plan to reunite the island. Straw's remarks came as Turkish Cypriot President Dervis Eroglu and Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias met for a new round of reunification talks. Quoting diplomats, British daily the Financial Times said yesterday that this meeting could be the last chance to reunite the island. Officials in the UN and leading Western governments have warned that there is a limit to how long they will back the negotiations, saying they are running out of patience with the inability of both sides to strike a deal, said the daily.