Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday that the United States supported peace talks on Cyprus aimed at reunifying the divided island.
Pence hosted Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades at the White House on Thursday. The White House said Pence expressed hope that Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders “will agree to a settlement that would reunify Cyprus as a bizonal, bicommunal federation to the benefit of all Cypriots.”
Pence also thanked Cyprus for its support for the Middle East peace talks and the fight against Islamic State.
Anastasiades said that he invited Pence to visit the island and that “what satisfied me most is that the U.S. acknowledged the role Cyprus plays as a result of its excellent relations with all its neighboring nations.”
Cyprus has been split between a Greek Cypriot south and a Turkish Cypriot north since 1974, when Turkey invaded in response to a military coup aimed at unifying the island with Greece.
The south is recognized as the sole Cypriot government, while only Turkey recognizes a separate Turkish Cypriot north.
U.N.-sponsored reunification talks have been slow because of several sensitive issues, including Turkish demands that Turkish forces be allowed to stay on the island. The Greek Cypriots want them to leave.