US Vice President Joe Biden urged Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to resume settlement negotiations during separate phone calls on Wednesday, the White House said.
Anastasiades canceled scheduled peace talks, cutting short a visit to Turkey on Tuesday after learning that Akinci was also invited to an official dinner at a United Nations summit.
Biden encouraged Anastasiades to “seize the moment to negotiate a settlement that would reunify Cyprus as a bizonal, bicommunal federation,” the White House said in a statement.
”Subsequently, the Vice President spoke to Turkish Cypriot Leader Mustafa Akinci to convey the same message,” urging both leaders to resume meetings as soon as possible.
Biden “pledged continued US support to both sides” over the Mediterranean island's reunification, the statement added.
Cyprus has been divided since August 1974, when Turkish troops occupied its northern third in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece.
Long-stalled UN-brokered peace talks – seen as the best chance to reunify Cyprus – began in May 2015, with the leaders meeting regularly since then.