Kerry to visit Cyprus, five other European countries

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 24, 2015 4:30 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will go on a six-nation European tour next week, including a visit to Cyprus for talks with Cypriot leaders to encourage progress toward ending the island's 40-year division, the State Department said on Tuesday.

Kerry will travel to Paris on Monday to join President Barack Obama for the opening of international climate talks. He will then go to Brussels to attend NATO meetings, to Kosovo's capital Pristina and to the Serbian capital Belgrade, where he will take part in a meeting of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe, the department said in a statement.

On Dec. 3 he will travel to Nicosia, where he will "meet with Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders to encourage continued progress in the U.N.-facilitated settlement talks," it said.

Cyprus has been split along ethnic lines since a 1974 Turkish invasion triggered by a Greek-inspired coup. The internationally recognized government of Cyprus is a member of the European Union, and a Turkish-Cypriot administration in the northern part of the island is recognized only by Turkey.

Greek and Turkish prime ministers said last week they saw an opportunity to move toward a solution for the division of Cyprus.

Kerry will travel to Athens on Dec. 4 on the final leg of his trip, and his talks with Greek officials will include the migration and refugee crisis and economic reforms, the State Department said.

(Reporting by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)