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Cyprus

US cautiously optimistic over new round of talks (updated)

The US State Department is cautiously optimistic that the two sides were showing very serious purpose in the new round of negotiations and is beginning to see the start of real negotiations.

Speaking to reporters after State Secretary John Kerry’s meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades on Sunday, a senior US who wished to remain anonymous, said the focus was very much on the renewed peace talk efforts and the appointment of a new UN special envoy to support those talks, Norwegian diplomat Espen Barth Eide.

“The Secretary made clear how strongly the United States supports the work that is going on between the sides and with the facilitation of Espen Barth Eide, the Secretary made clear that he intends to be personally engaged and to help push the process forward as he can,” the official said. “He made clear that the subject of Cyprus and getting – and injecting new energy into the talks also came up on his recent trip to Ankara, and that we will remain very much engaged, including this week when there will be a number of other meetings both with the parties and with Espen Barth Eide”.

To a question if Kerry is planning to visit Cyprus, the state department official said the secretary was prepared to do that if there was a moment in the talks where he could help push things forward.

“We haven’t made a concrete plan yet.”

Eide, the source said, was going to accelerate his effort to keep talks going between the sides through October, and then “we will see whether a moment comes when he and the sides think a visit by the secretary might be helpful”.

“ I think we are cautiously optimistic that these first couple of rounds since the new UN negotiator was appointed are beginning to show promise, that the sides are showing very serious purpose in the way that they are engaging, that we are now beginning to see the start of real negotiations,” the official said.

Anastasiades said the focus of the meeting was the new phase of the talks as well as the necessity of a more active involvement and exercising pressure on Turkey.

Replying to a question on what the feeling was from Kerry’s talks in Ankara, Anastasiades said the state secretary expressed his belief that Turkey “means what it says.”

On Tuesday Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides will be meeting US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland while Goverment Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides will hold talks with US Deputy Assistant Secretary Amanda Sloat.

Anastasiades will address the UN General Assembly on Friday.

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