NICOSIA - US Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Cyprus on Wednesday to discuss the country's reunification efforts and its ability to tap gas deposits, which could turn the east Mediterranean island into a source of stability in a tumultuous region.
“Peace is always possible,” was the message Biden sent from Larnaca airport where he arrived on Air Force Two with his wife Jill and a delegation of some 400 people.
But he made clear he had no solution plan in his pocket and that his talks on Thursday aim to strengthen efforts to reunite the island as well as boost bilateral relations.
Biden is the most senior American official to visit Cyprus since his predecessor Lyndon Johnson in 1962.
A reunified Cyprus could also act as a conduit to transport Cypriot and Israeli gas to Europe through Turkey via a pipeline, helping to reduce the continent's energy dependence on Russia, which has threatened to cut deliveries amid the Ukrainian crisis.
Biden's visit comes at the invitation of President Nicos Anastasiades, who has realigned Cyprus' policies more in favour of the US and Europe in contrast to his predecessor, a move the US administration has welcomed.
Biden will also delve into the possibility of stronger sanctions against Russia over the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.