March 17, 2016 / 9:53 AM / a year ago

Turkey will not make new demands at EU migrant summit: senior official

Syrian refugees wait on a roadside after Turkish police prevented them from sailing off to the Greek island of Farmakonisi by dinghies, near a beach in the western Turkish coastal town of Didim, Turkey, March 9, 2016.Umit Bektas

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey does not intend to make new demands at a meeting with EU leaders on the migrant crisis and sees the chances of finalizing a deal as difficult but not impossible, a senior Turkish official told Reuters on Thursday.

Should there be new proposals from the European side, Turkey would discuss them, the official said, adding that countries including Cyprus should not be allowed to block progress.

"It will be hard to get a result from this summit, but not impossible. The reason is there are too many actors on the EU side," the official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of the sensitive talks.

"Some countries should not be allowed to exhibit a manner that would block progress," the official said, when asked whether a lingering feud between Ankara and small but vocal EU member Cyprus was hampering a deal.

EU leaders meet in Brussels on Thursday to agree on a deal to offer Turkey the following day that would secure Ankara's commitment to a scheme intended to halt migrant flows to the Greek islands.

A breakfast is set for Friday with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, where European Council President Donald Tusk hopes to finalize the deal that the Turkish premier first sprang on the EU, with backing from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, at a special summit 10 days ago.

A separate official in Davutoglu's office said there was "no hesitation" on the Turkish side about going to Brussels, in response to a question on whether the Turkish delegation would only attend if it was sure of securing a deal.

The first official said a visit by Tusk to Ankara this week had not fully resolved issues over the agreement, but that it had been an "extremely important" visit and that it was vital to keep channels of communication open.

Additional reporting by Can Sezer and Akin Aytekin; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by David Dolan

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