World Bulletin/News Desk
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden may meet with Turkish Cypriot leaders this week on the first trip of a sitting American vice president to Cyprus since 1962.
Biden’s visit comes as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Greek Cypriot administration continue peace talks aimed at resolving the conflict that led to the partition of the island forty years ago. A joint statement signed on February 11 kick started peace talks between the parties after a two-year hiatus.
The eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus has been partitioned since 1974 when a Greek military coup that attempted to unify the island with Greece was followed by a Turkish military intervention.
Biden’s visit to the Greek administration in the south comes at the invitation of Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades. While in the south, Biden will hold a bilateral meeting with Anastasiades to discuss cooperation between Washington and Nicosia, regional affairs, and the settlement process.
The vice president’s potential meetings with Turkish Cypriot party leaders, including Dervis Eroglu, the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, are still being finalized, according to a senior administration official who spoke to the media on condition that they not be named.
“These will be useful opportunities for the vice president to hear Cypriot ideas on how they hope to shape their future, as well as to hear the views of the leaders and negotiators about how the current political environment and public perceptions are influencing settlement talks,” the official said.
The White House announced last week that Biden would travel to Cyprus on a tour of Europe in which he will also go to Romania. While in Cyprus, the vice president will urge all parties to intensify efforts to forge a peace deal, and emphasize Washington’s support for a bizonal, bicommunal federation with equal rights for all.
“We’re not coming to impose solutions, or to pressure the two sides. This is about hearing Cypriot ideas for what a solution could look like,” said the official.
Biden will also participate in a roundtable discussion with faith leaders from the island, and visit the UN-run buffer zone between the north and south.
Ahmet Davutoglu, the Turkish Foreign Minister, hailed the vice president’s trip as an important and positive step during a visit to the island last Saturday.Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Mayıs 2014, 09:35