US President Barack Obama said on Thursday a great opportunity existed to resolve the Cyprus problem, as he pledged to work closely with Greece to achieve progress on the issue.
Following a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in Washington DC, Obama said Greece could play an important stabilising and partnership role in the region as issues were addressed in the Balkans, the Middle East and North Africa.
“There is a great opportunity, as we speak, for the decades-long conflict and tensions that exist in Cyprus to be resolved,” the US leader said. “I think we are both encouraged by the messages coming out the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities and we are going to be working very close together to see if we can make progress on those parts.”
Samaras said the two countries can work together in an effort to solve as many of the region’s problems as possible.
Those included the Cyprus problem, Samaras said, by exploiting the window of opportunity opened by the new proposals tabled by the Cypriot president.
Samaras was referring to Nicos Anastasiades’ proposal to see the return of the fenced-off part of Varosha to its inhabitants in return for allowing EU-supervised trade at the occupied Famagusta port.