News / Europe

Biden Visits Cyprus in Bid to Isolate Russia

Vice President Joe Biden after arriving in Larnaca international airport, Cyprus, May 21, 2014.
Vice President Joe Biden after arriving in Larnaca international airport, Cyprus, May 21, 2014.
Luis Ramirez
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is in Cyprus as part of an effort to consolidate support for possible further sanctions against Russia.

Vice President Biden arrived in Cyprus expressing support for the country's peace process and efforts to reunify the island, which has been divided since a 1974 Turkish invasion.

The U.S. official is on a tour aimed at isolating Russia for its actions in Ukraine.

Earlier, at a joint press conference with Romania's president in Bucharest,  Biden said the two talked about loosening Europe's dependence on Russia.

“We also spoke at some length about energy security, and how national  security and energy security come together in this part of the world in the need to ensure that Russia can no longer continue using its energy resources and European dependence on those resources as a weapon, a weapon against anyone in this region," said Vice President Biden.

Energy security is an important theme in Cyprus, where Biden is discussing the island's natural gas resources.

Analysts say a unified Cyprus could make it possible for Cypriot and Israeli natural gas to be transported to Europe via Turkey.

But pressuring Russia remains the overarching topic of Biden's visit to the island.  The vice president said he would discuss events in Ukraine with Cypriot leaders, as well as U.S. efforts to impose further sanctions on Russia.

That is a challenge for U.S. officials. Deep economic ties with Russia mean Cyprus is reluctant to support sanctions against Russian officials who the U.S. says are responsible for destabilizing Ukraine.

Christopher Hill, a former senior U.S. diplomat now at the University of Denver, says the Cypriot banking system is one area where Washington would like to see change.

“We certainly knew this during the Balkan crises that Cyprus does have a flexible banking system where some of these not very nice people are able to park their money so there's always an issue of whether banking regulations in Cyprus and in a few other countries, but Cyprus is one of them, can be strengthened such that people who are being sanctioned by the international community maybe don't get away with it," said Hill.

Biden is the most senior U.S. official to set foot on Cyprus since the late U.S. leader Lyndon Johnson visited as Vice President in 1962.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid