U.S. hosts Turkish Cypriot official

March 8, 2005 at 8:18 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 8 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department confirmed Tuesday it recently hosted a representative of a Turkish Cypriot leader expected to be elected his nation's president.

"Yonca Senyigit, an aide to Turkish Cyprus community leader Mehmet Ali Talat, visited the department last week," said spokesman Richard Boucher.

Senyigit was in the United States on a group visit for European leaders on U.S. foreign policy, organized by the state department's international visitor leadership program.

The group met March 2 with Deputy Assistant Secretary Glyn Davies and Senyigit also met individually with the director of the Southern Europe desk March 4.

The visit is bound to annoy Greece, which opposes any contact between Turkish Cypriot leaders and the international community.

U.S. attitude towards the Turkish enclave in Cyprus began to soften after the Turks voted last year for joining a united Cyprus, but were snubbed by the Greek Cypriot majority.

Talat is running om his enclave's April 17 presidential election and has pledged to participate in any revived negotiations with Greek Cypriots on reuniting the island.

The island has been divided for more than three decades.

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