NEWS

Kerry plans trips to Nicosia, Athens

US Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed on Tuesday that he will visit Cyprus in the coming weeks in a bid to contribute to a new United Nations-mediated effort to reunify the divided island.

Speaking in Washington after talks with visiting Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, Kerry said the US was “very supportive” of the new peace initiative, launched in February, and that he hoped to visit “Nicosia and perhaps Athens somewhere in the next weeks if not early months.”

Kerry pointed to “new economic opportunities in the energy sector” while Kasoulides said Nicosia needed “the assistance and interest of the international community” in solving a “chronic” problem.

In a related development, Ankara rebuffed Monday’s landmark ruling by the European Court of Human Rights ordering Turkey to pay Cyprus 90 million euros in damages over its 1974 invasion of the northern part of the island and its subsequent division. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey saw no obligation to pay compensation to a country it does not formally recognize.

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