15 May 2014 11:11

Political parties yesterday called for the national council to convene prior to the announced visit to Cyprus of US vice president Joe Biden on May 21.
And they questioned the strong US interest in Cyprus, especially after Secretary of State John Kerry has said that he too was hoping for a visit to the island in next weeks or months.
Opposition left-wing Akel leader Andros Kyprianou said: “The Americans have not fallen in love with Cyprus overnight…President Anastasiades has to brief political leaders of what to expect from the imminent high-profile visit.”
“We support efforts to reunite the country and we welcome the international community’s interest but these efforts should be based on the right principles,” he added.
Former governing coalition partner Diko also warned that whatever breakthrough is expected in the Cyprus problem this should not be at the expense of Greek Cypriots.
Negotiations resumed in February after agreement was reached between Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu on a joint communiqué highlighting key principles of a federated Cyprus.
Biden will be in Cyprus from May 21-23 at the invitation of Anastasiades amid high speculation that he will announce a breakthrough in the opening of the ghost town of Varosha.
Nicosia pushes for the return of the occupied former resort town to its lawful Greek Cypriot inhabitants under EU and UN supervision as a means to boost confidence between the two communities.
As well as maintain the momentum in the Cyprus peace process – something the Americans seem to also want.
Kerry said after Tuesday’s talks in Washington DC with visiting foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides that a possible Cyprus visit aimed at helping to promote the restarted UN-brokered reunification talks was on the cards.
"It's my hope to be in Nicosia and perhaps in Athens somewhere in the next weeks, if not early months. We've been talking about a visit for some time,” Kerry told reporters.
“We want to try to be helpful in this process,” he added.
Kasoulides said: “Cyprus needs the assistance and interest of the international community as the circumstances are appropriate to push in order to find a settlement”.
Kasoulides yesterday continued his contacts in the US capital where he met with leading figures of the Greek-American community as well as with the leadership of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
He also discussed arrangements for Biden’s visit.
Speaking before the American Jewish Committee Global Forum on Tuesday evening the Foreign Minister expressed Cyprus' readiness to play a more active role in the Eastern Mediterranean region.
“We feel that we have a responsibility to play a more active role in our immediate region, the Eastern Mediterranean, leveraging our excellent relations with our neighbours toward greater regional stability and prosperity,” Kasoulides said.
He added: “Indeed, not only is Cyprus not party to the Middle East conflict, but we are also perceived as an honest interlocutor, whose political stability and clear positions of principle make us a reliable partner.”


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