US officials on visit to Turk-held Cyprus

NICOSIA (AFP) – A US congressional delegation flew into Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus yesterday in defiance of Greek-Cypriot warnings against using an «illegal» airport. «This is a symbolic gesture and sometimes symbolic gestures are very important,» Ed Whitfield, head of the three-member delegation, said at a joint news conference with Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat. «We have come to northern Cyprus because we support the free movement of people and goods throughout all of Cyprus,» said the Republican from Kentucky and vice president of a Turkish-US friendship group. Meanwhile, UN special envoy Kieran Prendergast flew in to Cyprus yesterday at the start of a regional tour to try to revive stalled peace talks. «My coming here is to take the pulse of the island and the region, after a period of reflection by all sides,» Prendergast said.