Cyprus on agenda in Bi­den visit to Istanbul

US of­fi­cial eyes re­sump­tion of peace talks, eas­ing ten­sions in east­ern Aegean

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The prospects for the re­sump­tion of stalled peace talks on Cyprus and the is­sue of en­ergy se­cu­rity were among the mat­ters dis­cussed over the week­end by US Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den and Turk­ish gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials dur­ing a visit by the for­mer to Istanbul.

Bi­den un­der­lined the need to al­lay ten­sions in the east­ern Aegean in his talks with the Turk­ish of­fi­cials. And in an in­ter­view with the news­pa­per Haber­turk, he noted that a Cyprus set­tle­ment would boost en­ergy se­cu­rity and pros­per­ity in the re­gion.

Although the key aim of Bi­den’s visit to Turkey was to ease strains over the cri­sis in Syria and urge Ankara to support a crack­down against Is­lamic State ji­hadists, the Cyprus is­sue was high on the agen- da, chiefly due to a gas row be­tween Nicosia and Ankara. The Turk­ish seis­mic ves­sel Bar­baros has been sail­ing in the wa­ters of Cyprus’s Ex­clu­sive Eco­nomic Zone since Oc­to­ber 20, prompt­ing the con­dem­na­tion of Greek, Cypriot, Egyp­tian and Is­raeli au­thor­i­ties.

Dur­ing his talks with Bi­den, Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Ah­met Davu­to­glu said both sides should ac­knowl- edge that nat­u­ral re­sources off the is­land’s coast­line be­long to both com­mu­ni­ties. He did not in­di­cate, how­ever, that Ankara would stop ac­tions that have fu­elled ten­sions in the east­ern Aegean.

In an in­ter­view with Sun­day’s Kathimerini, Cypriot gov­ern­ment spokesman Nikos Christodoulides called Turkey’s con­tin­ued vi­o­la­tion of Cyprus’s EEZ “bar­baric.”

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