US official: Gas find could help Cyprus peace deal

NICOSIA ? A senior US official said late on Friday that the discovery of natural gas off Cyprus underscores the need for an accord that would reunify the ethnically-divided island and allow all of its people to share in the island’s potential wealth.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon warned of risks if an ongoing dispute over who will benefit from the find isn’t settled through a Cyprus peace deal.

Cyprus was split into an internationally recognized Greek Cypriot south and a breakaway Turkish Cypriot north in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece.

Long-running peace talks are now deadlocked. Turkey, which does not recognize Cyprus as a sovereign country, says the Greek Cypriot gas search flouts the rights of Turkish Cypriots and has warned of retaliatory actions.


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