U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Turkish Cyprus is a historical step as it shows equal treatment to both sides and gives a positive message, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said May 23, Hurriyet Daily News reported.
During his visit to the divided island, Biden hailed Cyprus as a "key partner" and said its rival leaders had agreed to "speed up" efforts to end the 40-year division. Biden ended his visit, the highest level by a U.S. official to Cyprus since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1962, late on May 22.
"Biden's message that demonstrates an equidistant approach to the parties is positive, according to us," Davutoglu said at a press conference with Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Erlan Abdyldaev in Ankara.
Citing ongoing reunification talks between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, Davutoglu said Biden's visit to Cyprus was "timely" and had the "right agenda," expressing hope that his visit would accelerate the negotiations.
"Biden's visit to Turkish Cyprus and meeting with Turkish Cypriot President Derviş Eroglu is a historical step," the minister said, noting that a permanent solution was impossible without an equidistant approach to the parties.
After meeting with Biden, Eroglu said the vice president's visit to the island had raised hopes of finding a solution to the crisis in Cyprus. Eroglu and Biden also agreed that the possibility of achieving unity on the divided island relied on a comprehensive solution, with the Turkish Cypriot president adding that they agreed to accelerate negotiations and meet more often with the Greek side.
Eroglu announced that he would meet Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades twice a month following an agreement reached late May 22, noting that a comprehensive solution would lead to an opportunity to join the European Union and to be recognized by the international community.
"The time has come for a solution to the Cyprus issue," Eroglu said. "We cannot proceed by blaming or driving each other into a corner."