Relocated US embassy office upsets Nicosia

Nicosia said yesterday it was not content with US explanations over the opening of an American Embassy office in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus, which only Turkey recognizes as a legal state entity. Cypriot government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said a statement by the US Embassy in Nicosia «does not satisfy the government.» On Monday, the embassy held a reception, hosted by US Ambassador Donald Bandler, with Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and Turkey’s diplomatic emissary to the occupied north among the guests, to mark the opening of a new embassy office on the Turkish side of the buffer zone that divides the island. Nicosia demanded clarifications from the embassy, which replied on Wednesday that it had «long maintained an office in northern Cyprus, which was recently relocated.» The embassy said «there should be no controversy over meeting anyone who can contribute to a just and durable settlement in Cyprus.» Cypriot parliament speaker Dimitris Christofias called the reception an attempt to recognize the breakaway state.

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