A senior Cypriot diplomat has blamed Turkish "intransigence" for the blocked talks on reunifying the divided island.Source: The Parliament
Addressing a Brussels conference on Cyprus, Theophilos Theophilou also insisted the country was "well prepared" to assume the presidency of the EU on 1 July.
Theophilou, permanent representative of Cyprus to the EU from 2000-2004, said that as well as the ongoing economic malaise, the presidency priorities would include the long-term EU budget and a 'common asylum' policy.
He added, "A great emphasis will also be on achieving what could be called a 'better' Europe. By that I mean one which is closer to its citizens and responds more to their needs."
Theophilou, who helped steer the accession of Cyprus to the EU in 2004, said he believes presidencies run by smaller member states can be more effective.
"They have no vested interest or hidden agendas," he told this website. "Cyprus will be an honest broker."
Theophilou, who was born in what Greek Cypriots describe as the "occupied", Turk-controlled northern part of the island, said it was "in the interests" of both sides, Greek and Turkish Cypriots, to resolve the current impasse.
He appealed to Ankara to "make concessions", including the withdrawal of up to 30,000 Turkish troops from northern Cyprus and the "removal" of "settlers" in the north.
"Turkey continues to be intractable and is responsible for the lack of progress on the peace talks. This is disappointing and I would hope it will be more forthcoming and show responsibility. Cyprus is too small to be divided. It is big enough for all Cypriots."
The Nicosia-based lawyer was a keynote speaker at a debate organised by the Brussels-based Centre for European Studies and the Hans Seidel Stiftung think tank.
His comments come after S&D leader Hannes Swoboda said Turkey must respect the fact that Cypriot president Demetris Christofias is not only representing Cyprus from 1 July but the whole of the EU.
Speaking after meeting with Christofias, the head of the second largest party in parliament said he was "disappointed" with the lack of respect shown by Turkey to Cyprus and its upcoming presidency.
"It is a European presidency. Turkey cannot expect from Europe compromises if it doesn't respect the decisions of the EU.
"President Christofias is not representing only Cyprus, he is representing the EU in these six months and this has to be respected by Turkey."
Swoboda called on Turkey to make moves to push forward its EU accession path, like proving more "helpful" towards the reunification of Cyprus.