US official envisions Cyprus deal by year’s end

NICOSIA, Cyprus

Washington hopes the two Cypriot communities will make an “historic breakthrough” this year to end the island’s division, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza said on Monday (June 29th) during a visit to Nicosia.

“We would like to look forward and anticipate there will be an agreement by the end of this year,” he told reporters after meeting with President Demetris Christofias’ adviser, George Iacovou.

Bryza reiterated that Washington has no particular role in the reunification process, and foresees none unless Cypriot communities request help. Later in the day, he met with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu.

In other news Monday, Christofias appointed Michalakis Papageorgiou as the new Cypriot police chief. Currently the deputy chief, he replaces Iacovos Papacostas. The latter resigned on June 18th, following an investigation into last year’s escape by a notorious criminal, Antonis Kitas. Kitas, who is serving a life sentence for the 1994 rape and murder of two foreigners, fled a private hospital in Nicosia in December and was captured a month later.

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