US welcomes fresh Cyprus peace talks

The White House on Tuesday welcomed plans to resume UN-brokered talks to unify the divided Mediterranean island of Cyprus.

“The United States welcomes the announcement that Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders will resume settlement talks on May 15,” said National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan.

“We reiterate our willingness to assist the process in any way the parties find useful.”

Rival Cypriot leaders have agreed to resume peace negotiations next week to reach a settlement after four decades of division.

A UN-monitored ceasefire line has divided the island since 1974 when Turkish troops occupied its northern third in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece.

The April election of Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, who is seen as a moderate, appears to have opened the door for a possible solution.

“We encourage the parties to reach a settlement as soon as possible to reunify the island as a bizonal, bicommunal federation, which would benefit all Cypriots as well as the wider region,” said Meehan. [AFP]

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