By Esra Kaymak Avci
WASHINGTON (AA) – Advancements have been made on the long-standing Cyprus negotiation process between the Turkish and Greek sides of the Mediterranean island, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday.
"There is progress," he said during a press conference before meeting with Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides in Washington DC.
"There are certain areas of the discussions where people believe they’ve reached some agreement, but there are still some difficult hurdles to get over," he said.
The U.S. is involved and supports discussions between the sides in order to "bring peace" to the island, according to Kerry.
"We will continue to be engaged in these talks, and my hope is that the re-engagement that has just taken place in the last days will produce some progress," he said.
Kasoulides thanked Kerry for his "keen interest on the issue of Cyprus” and said his meeting his counterpart would include talks on ways the U.S. could contribute to the UN peace mission to progress the Cyprus issue.
The foreign minister also condemned the attack in Orlando, Florida, where 49 people were killed Sunday by a gunman, and he offered condolences for the American people.
Reunification talks between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities on the island resumed in May 2015 when the newly-elected Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus President Mustafa Akinci met with Greek Cyprus’s President Nicos Anastasiades.
Previous negotiations stalled in October 2014 due to a dispute about gas exploration.
The eastern Mediterranean island was divided into a Turkish Cypriot state in the north and a Greek Cypriot administration in the south after a 1974 military coup on the island was followed by the intervention of Turkey as a guarantor power.