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Biden Backs Cyprus Over Turkey

WASHINGTON  — Vice President Joe Biden has telephoned the President of Cyprus to express concern over renewed tension with Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

The White House says that in the conversation with President Nicos Anastasiades, Biden also stressed that the U.S. respects Cyprus’ sovereignty and right to develop resources in an exclusive economic zone.

Biden also expressed hope that diplomatic efforts will help reduce tensions with Turkey over oil and gas exploration rights off the divided island.

Cyprus has been split along ethnic lines since 1974. Only Turkey recognizes the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north, where it maintains a strong military presence.

The internationally recognized government is in the Greek Cypriot south. The White House adds that both leaders also agreed on the need to reunify the island.

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