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US ambassador says Cyprus reunification accord could ease supply of offshore gas to Europe

The U.S. ambassador to Cyprus says an agreement to reunify the ethnically split island could ease the supply of newly-found offshore gas to Europe by allowing it to go through Turkey.

John Koenig says that easier access to eastern Mediterranean gas deposits after a peace accord would help diversify Europe's energy sources and feed the needs of energy-hungry Turkey.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, Koenig said a peace deal could also boost bailed-out Cyprus' ailing economy, years before the Mediterranean island nation starts reaping its potential gas rewards.

Turkey doesn't recognize Cyprus as a sovereign country. Cyprus was split into an internationally recognized Greek Cypriot south and a breakaway Turkish Cypriot north in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece.