Germany says UN court ruling on Kosovo does not apply to Cyprus
Germany's foreign minister said Friday that a UN court ruling affirming Kosovo's declaration of independence as legal from Serbia does not apply to the divided Mediterranean island of Cyprus or any other country, DPA reported.
Guido Westerwelle said the ruling by the International Court of Justice on Thursday "has nothing to do with any other cases in the world."
"This is a very specific case and it is a unique decision concerning a specific historic situation," he said.
Cyprus has been been divided since 1974 into an internationally recognised Greek Cypriot south and a breakaway Turkish Cypriot north, after Turkey invaded the northern third of the island in response to a Greek-inspired coup.
The Turkish Cypriot north declared itself an independent state in 1983, but is only recognised by Turkey.
The UN's highest court ruled that Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia in February 2008 did not violate international law, rejecting Belgrade's argument that the declaration had no legal basis.
Pristina hopes the outcome will lead to more nations recognising its independence.
Sixty-nine countries have so far recognised Kosovo as independent, including Germany and the United States. Five of the 27 EU member states, including the internationally recognised Greek-Cypriot government and Greece do not.
After nearly two years of UN-led peace talks Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders have made little progress in finding a solution to reunite the divided island.
Westerwelle said the "German people feel a great understanding towards Cypriots because they too were part of a divided country for many years.
"We will never forget the feeling when the wall came down and we hope that the same will happen to you."
Greek Cypriot voters overwhelmingly rejected a 2004 UN reunification blueprint in a referendum, despite a Turkish referendum approving the plan.
European Union officials have said that progress at the Cyprus reunification talks is essential to helping Turkey's slow-moving EU accession process move forward.
Although the peace talks and Turkey's EU membership negotiations are separate processes, a breakthrough on one is likely to have a positive impact on the other.