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Saturday, March 14, 1998 Published at 17:12 GMT

World: Europe

EU smooths over Cyprus row

Foreign ministers from the European Union have ended a meeting in Edinburgh after overcoming a disagreement which had threatened to delay negotiations on the enlargement of the Union.

France had suggested that the EU retain the right to suspend membership negotiations with Cyprus unless both the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities were involved.

But after Greece threatened to block negotiations with the other EU applicants, the idea was dropped.

The BBC diplomatic correspondent, however, says the deal has only postponed the problem.

And the French foreign minister, Hubert Vedrine, said he still believed that admitting a divided island to the EU was neither desirable nor realistic.

The Turkish Cypriots have rejected an invitation from the Greek Cypriot president, Glafcos Clerides, to form a joint negotiating team.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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