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Pence says no one ‘can question Cyprus’ sovereignty’

President Nicos Anastasiades at the White House with US President Mike Pence (PIO)

US Vice President Mike Pence assured President Nikos Anastasiades on Thursday that no one can question Cyprus’ sovereignty, in a meeting which Anastasiades described as “very friendly.”

The meeting lasted for almost an hour, according to an official statement.

Pence received Anastasiades in the Roosevelt Room, a meeting room in the West Wing of the White House.

After the greet, the two began their meeting in Pence’s office.

Anastasiades later told reporters he was completely pleased with the tete-a-tete, where he and Pence discussed bilateral relations, the Cyprus problem, the east Mediterranean, terrorism and energy.

“We covered matters concerning our region, but what satisfied me the most is that the US acknowledges the role Cyprus plays as a result of its excellent relations with all its neighbouring nations.”

The president said he and Pence spoke at length about the Cyprus issue, adding that he appreciated the fact the US Vice President was fully up-to-date on the status of the talks process.

“And of course what we discussed, and which I would like to state with satisfaction, is the position of principle of the United States that no one can question the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus within its Exclusive Economic Zone.”

At the meeting, the US Vice President reiterated Washington’s long-standing position that it supports a Cyprus settlement that is acceptable to all Cypriots and is in line with the EU acquis.

Responding to a question, Anastasiades confirmed that he asked Pence to visit the island.

Also present at the meeting were foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides, energy minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis, government spokesman Nikos Christodoulides and Cypriot ambassador to the US Leonidas Pantelides.

The last time a Cypriot president visited the White House was in 1996.

Anastasiades is due to return to Cyprus on Friday.

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