Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and US Vice President Joe Biden have agreed to continue to support efforts toward reconciliation in Cyprus, during a meeting at the White House, in Washington.

According to a White House statement, the Vice President welcomed the recent decision of the Greek and Turkish governments to meet with Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot negotiators, respectively, as a positive step towards helping the parties build trust.

The two men, it adds, discussed a range of bilateral and regional issues. Biden stressed Greece’s strategic importance as a NATO ally and valued partner in promoting peace and stability from the Middle East and North Africa to the Western Balkans.

He also commended the Greek Prime Minister for his continued commitment to making the tough but necessary reforms to put Greece back on stable financial footing, as notable progress has already been made.

The Vice President finally pledged continued American support for Greece’s efforts to make its economy more open and competitive.

The two leaders met tête-à-tête for 10 minutes and, according to Greek government sources, Biden noted positive developments in the Greek economy, and congratulated the Premier on the handling of the ultranationalist far right “Golden Dawn” party.

Early this morning it was announced that party leader Nicos Michaloliakos will be jailed pending trial, on charges of belonging to a criminal group.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. A new round of talks is expected to start this autumn between the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot side, to find a negotiated settlement under a federal roof.

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