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US Secretary of State visits Cyprus



US Secretary of State visits Cyprus

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Cyprus on December 3 as part of a six-nation European tour. During his visit he held talks with President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to encourage progress towards ending the island’s division.

In a statement after meeting, Kerry said he had been closely following developments in Cyprus for decades and that the US has always been and is focused on Cyprus “at the highest levels”. “It has been a priority for me and President Obama,” he noted.

“I am more convinced than ever that a settlement is within reach. This will not happen automatically, but it can be done. “A united Cyprus can stand as a beacon for peace in a troubled region of the world,” he added.

Speaking of “tangible progress” in the Cyprus peace talks, Kerry went on to refer to the two leaders by their first names, saying “I am impressed with both Nicos and Mustafa.” “Our focus must be on what we can change. Today I have witnessed that desire,” he said. “I am more convinced than ever that a settlement is within reach. It can be done.”

Mr Kerry then travelled to Paris to join President Barack Obama for the opening of international climate talks. He went on to Brussels to attend NATO meetings, to Kosovo’s capital Pristina and to the Serbian capital Belgrade, where he took part in a meeting of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe. For the final leg of his trip, he will be in Athens for talks with Greek officials discussing the migration, refugee crisis and economic reforms. The high profile visit demonstrates that there is support for Cyprus with a solution closer than there has ever been.

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