Kerry seeks thaw in frozen Cyprus stalemate, supports 'bi-zonal federation'

Kerry seeks thaw in frozen Cyprus stalemate, supports 'bi-zonal federation'

WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse
Kerry seeks thaw in frozen Cyprus stalemate, supports bi-zonal federation

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) makes a statement with Republic of Greek Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides (L) prior to a bilateral meeting at the State Department May 10 in Washington. AFP photo

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called May 10 for greater efforts to "unfreeze" decades of tense stalemate between Greece and Turkey over Cyprus.

"The United States supports a bi-zonal, bicommunal federation. We would like to see us unfreeze this conflict and be able to move to a resolution," Kerry told reporters after meeting in Washington with his Greek Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides.

"We also look forward to working with the foreign minister, and with President (Nicos) Anastasiades and others to try to move Cyprus forward on one of the world's frozen conflicts," the top US diplomat said.

Kerry said he already has broached the subject of talks to break the stalemate "several times" with Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Greece's Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, as well as with the Cypriot president.

Kasoulides said that talks on the future of the divided island should be raised "not in isolation but... in the wider picture of the eastern Mediterranean.

"We want to be and play the role of stability in this region and work with all the neighbors and with the United States," he said.

The four-decade-long stalemate over Cyprus's unresolved status "is an open wound, and it's bleeding to have to have one's country divided," Kasoulides added.

The proposed efforts to achieve a breakthrough on political stalemate in Cyprus comes with the island's economy suffering following the collapse of the Greek economy.

The European Commission and the European Central Bank warned in a report May 10 that a contraction in Cyprus' economy could result in the nation's troubled banks requiring additional financial help, and warned of several tough economic years ahead.