x

Society

Gas, Ukraine Top Biden Cyprus Visit

NICOSIA — U.S. Vice President Joe Biden travels on May 21 to Cyprus to discuss the country’s reunification efforts and its ability to tap gas deposits, which could turn the east Mediterranean island into a source of stability in a tumultuous region.

Biden, the most senior American official to visit Cyprus since his predecessor Lyndon Johnson in 1962, is expected to voice support for talks to reunify the island, which was divided along ethnic lines in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece.

A peace deal would have regional repercussions as it could help mend strained relations between key U.S. regional allies Turkey and Israel. Those countries fell out after Israeli commandos stormed a Turkish ship trying to break the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip in May 2010.

A reunified Cyprus could also act as a conduit to transport Cypriot and Israeli gas to Europe through Turkey via a pipeline, helping to reduce the continent’s energy dependence on Russia, which has threatened to cut deliveries amid the Ukrainian crisis.

“If diplomacy succeeds, energy resources could therefore provide the impetus required to resolve deep and longstanding disputes,” said Sofronis Clerides, an economics professor at the University of Cyprus.

U.S. company Noble Energy is already involved in developing the island’s sole proven gas field, along with Israeli partners Delek and Avner.

Biden’svisit comes on the invitation of Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, who has realigned Cyprus’ policies more in favor of the U.S. and Europe in contrast to his predecessor, a move the U.S. administration has welcomed.

Biden l also delve into the possibility of stronger sanctions against Russia over the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

But bailed-out Cyprus relies on Russian tourists and bank deposits to buoy its weakened economy and doesn’t want to harm its long-standing relationship with Moscow. The Cypriot government favors excluding some EU countries from a harsher sanctions regime or granting them the ability to opt out.

However, the U.S. believes that “speaking with one voice” on sanctions is best when confronting Russia over Ukraine, a senior U.S. administration official said on condition of anonymity.

Cyprus’ main airport was briefly evacuated following a bomb hoax, a day ahead of a visit to the small Mediterranean island nation by Biden.

Marios Demetriades, the country’s communications minister, said that the telephone warning of a possible bomb turned out be a hoax and that Larnaca airport was operating as normal once again following a brief evacuation. A sweep of the terminal found “suspicious items” that police later said weren’t dangerous.

He said another phone call about a bomb at the country’s other, smaller airport in Paphos also turned out to be a hoax and operations there were unaffected.

Biden begins his three-day visit on May 21. Demetriades said he couldn’t rule out the possibility that someone may have made the hoax because of Biden’s trip.

RELATED

NICOSIA, Cyprus  — Cyprus said Saturday it’s suspending processing all asylum applications by Syrian nationals because large numbers of refugees from the war-torn country continue to reach the island nation by boat, primarily from Lebanon.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

New York Greek Independence Parade Honors 1821 and Grim Anniversary for Cyprus (Vid & Pics)

NEW YORK – The New York Greek Independence Parade on Fifth Avenue, commemorating the 203rd anniversary of the Greek Revolution of 1821, was held in an atmosphere of emotion and pride on April 14.

DENVER — A couple who owned a Colorado funeral home where authorities last year discovered 190 decaying bodies were indicted on federal charges that they misspent nearly $900,000 in pandemic relief funds on vacations, cosmetic surgery, jewelry and other personal expenses, according to court documents unsealed Monday.

ASTORIA – The GRis Festival kicked off with the play ‘Sofia Vembo, I Remember You’ at the Hellenic Cultural Center in Astoria on April 12 transporting the audience to another era as iconic singer, portrayed skillfully by actress and singer Eleanna Finokalioti, shared her remarkable life story.

The economic crisis has had, and in many ways continues to have, a profound effect on contemporary culture in Greece.

There are more coffins than cribs in Greece, which has an incredible shrinking population despite financial incentives being given by the New Democracy government for couples to have children: they say they can’t afford them.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.