DIFFERENCES between the two communities on how to resolve the island decades-long dispute are not irreconcilable, and a solution must come from Cypriots, US Vice President Joe Biden said on Thursday night.
“Things do not have to remain as they are now,” Biden said in a statement coming out of a dinner at the Ledra Palace in the UN-patrolled buffer zone in Nicosia.
Flanked by President Nicos Anastasiades, Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Cyprus Lisa Buttenheim, Biden announced that the two leaders have agreed to speed up the process of negotiations as well as intensify efforts towards confidence-building measures.
The function at the Ledra Palace took longer than expected, with Biden and the leaders stepping outside a few minutes past 10pm.
The two leaders, he also revealed, have agreed henceforth to meet twice a month as part of the talks’ process.
Following the first statement, the two leaders went back inside. Biden stayed to read out a second, lengthier statement in which he said that it was ultimately up to the two communities to reach an agreement.
“There will always be doubters. A solution cannot come from the outside, nor from the United States,” he said.