14 May 2014 11:39

Ruling Disy leader Averof Neophytou yesterday made clear US vice-president Joe Biden's upcoming visit to Cyprus has nothing to do with natural gas reserves.
"There is no such issue. The Turkish Cypriot side tries to link the high profile visit with the hydrocarbons issue but there is no such thing," Neophytou told journalists after talks with US ambassador John Koenig at Disy HQ.
"The US president himself and other American officials have publicly said that Cyprus has every right to exploit hydrocarbon reserves within its exclusive economic zone," he added.
Neophytou also pointed that the first company to carry out drilling and secure rights within Cyprus' EEZ is Houston-based Noble Energy.
Turkish Cypriot media have Biden - who is due in Cyprus on May 21 - also discussing the issue of future profits from oil and gas being shared equally between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
Something that Nicosia does not disagree with provided that an overall peace agreement is reached first.  
Describing Biden's visit as extremely important and the first by an American vice-president since 1962, Neophytou hoped the diplomat will bring both sides closer together.
He was probably referring to the much-rumoured opening of the ghost town of Varosha under EU and UN supervision - a confidence - building measure that Nicosia is pushing for.
President Anastasiades as well as the international community, especially the US, believe this would help maintain the momentum in recently launched Cyprus talks.
The government yesterday welcomed Biden's decision to pay a visit to Cyprus at the invitation of President Anastasiades.
"The upcoming visit of Vice President Biden is considered particularly important, since it demonstrates the enhanced interest of the United States both with regard to the Cyprus problem as well as for the important role that Cyprus can play in the broader region," spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said.
"At the same time, it demonstrates the significant improvement in the relations of the two countries and the role the USA can play along with the EU and other friendly countries, in the new effort to find a solution to the Cyprus problem," he added.


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