President Mehmet Ali Talat of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) said that he had a very positive meeting with Foreign Minister Franco Frattini of Italy.
At the beginning of the meeting, Frattini referred to the upcoming presidential election in the TRNC, and expressed his hope that Talat would be re-elected.
He said that the Italian government was determined to contribute to the efforts to find a solution to the Cyprus issue.
Following his meeting with Frattini in Rome, President Talat told Turkish journalists in Rome, "I am in favor of unification of Cyprus within the European Union. We have a significant opportunity in front of us. If we fail to benefit from this opportunity, division of he island can become permanent."
"Italy is one of the important members of the European Union. During the meeting, I told Frattini that the European Union should fulfil its commitments. Bilateral relations were also high on agenda of the meeting. We will maintain our cultural and economic relations with Italy," he said.
President Talat said that he would run in the upcoming presidential election in TRNC as an independent candidate.
"We think that Greece, one of guarantor countries, should also play an active role for a solution. We believe that Greece should encourage the Greek Cypriot administration for a solution," he said.
President Talat recalled that he would visit Spain on February 25 and 27. "I believe that Spain can play an important role about the Cyprus issue as president of the European Union," he added.
President Talat is expected to leave Italy for Cyprus on Thursday.