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Biden says Cyprus solution close, opportunity shouldn’t be wasted

File photo of President Nicos Anastasiades and Joe Biden in New York

Cyprus is very close to a solution, which could bring great economic benefits for both communities on the island through the exploitation of its hydrocarbons, former US Vice President Joe Biden has said.

In an interview with Kathimerini Greece, Biden said the US has an important role to play in facilitating a compromise, but not as a mediator. The UN was doing an excellent job of supporting discussions between the two leaders, he said, adding that Washington should continue to provide support to the UN to encourage both sides to proceed.

“We have now a unique opportunity to resolve the conflict in Cyprus so that future generations of Cypriots can live in peace, harmony and prosperity,” said Biden who was in Athens for a summit.

“The two sides are close to a solution. But you will succeed only to cross the finish line the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders are given the political room to complete the groundwork,” he said.

Commenting on the good working relationship between President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and their comment desire for a solution, and vision for the future, Biden said such opportunities were not only rare but short-lived in his experience.

“We should never forget the fact that the reunification of the island will have huge benefits for all Cypriots. Solving the problem will not only free up financial resources from the international community and the private sector, but it could maximize the economic benefits from offshore hydrocarbon deposits in Cyprus,” he said.

This would also strengthen regional security through cooperation and integration, he added.

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