Progress so far in the UN-led negotiations for a settlement of the Cyprus problem will be among the issues US Vice President Jo Biden will discuss with Turkish officials, during his visit to Turkey on December 2 and 3, National Security Advisor to the Vice President Tony Blinken has said.
Blinken, speaking during a press briefing, said that “I expect we’ll talk about the progress we’ve seen and hope to see in Cyprus negotiations before the Secretary General of the U.N., Ban, brings the two leaders of Cyprus back together in January, and our hopes for a settlement as soon as possible”.
He also noted that internal reforms in Turkey, including US hope for the reopening of the Halki seminary in Istanbul will also be discussed as well as the situation in Afghanistan and the prospects of progress in normalizing relations between Turkey and Armenia.
Blinken gave a detailed briefing on the US officials visit to the area, stating that after Turkey, Biden is due to visit Greece.
“The United States supports Greece’s efforts to implement its commitments under its EU IMF program”, he noted, adding that “President Obama reiterated that the United States will stand strongly with Greece, a friend and ally, through these difficult times”.
The Vice President, Blinken said, “is going to show that support and to encourage further implementation of the necessary steps”.
Asked if Turkey-Israel ties will come up during discussions in Ankara, Blinken said that it might come up.
“We have in the United States longstanding strategic ties with both Israel and with Turkey”, he said, adding that “we have been and we continue to encourage both countries to seek opportunities to move beyond the recent strains in their relationship, and we believe that opportunities are there for the two countries to fully repair relations and move forward”.
During his visit to Turkey Biden is also set to meet His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Constantinople.