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    TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER TO DISCUSS CYPRUS SETTLEMENT IN MOSCOW

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    MOSCOW, February 20 (RIA Novosti) - The Cyprus peace settlement will be on the agenda of Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul's visit to Moscow scheduled for February 23rd-26th, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Third European department Alexander Alexeyev said at a briefing in Moscow on Friday.

    Russia is following the developments in Cyprus, he said. "We are assisting the negotiation process as much as we can," he pointed out.

    At present Cyprus is hosting talks between leader of the Turkish-Cypriote community Rauf Denktas and leader of the Greek community, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos. The talks are held under the UN aegis.

    On May 1st, 2004, Cyprus joins the European Union and the UN is interested in settling the situation by that time.

    Cyprus was divided in 1974 in a military conflict when Turkey brought its troops to the island to protect the Turkish population after the coup in the Greek part of the island.

    After the conflict, the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was created in the north of the island.

    At present the world community recognizes only the Republic of Cyprus.

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