Cyprus president: US vice president offers peace talks help

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Cyprus' president says U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has offered his personal help in ongoing talks to reunify the ethnically divided island.

President Nicos Anastasiades said after a meeting with Pence on Thursday that the vice president expressed willingness to respond to any call for help.

Preparations are underway for a summit meeting in Geneva later this month between Anastasiades and the leader of the breakaway Turkish Cypriots, Mustafa Akinci. The talks will also involve Cyprus' "guarantors" Greece, Turkey and Britain.

It's hoped that the summit could produce a breakthrough deal that has eluded previous rounds of talks over more than four decades.

Anastasiades also said the U.S. supports Cyprus' sovereign right to search for oil and gas off its shores. Turkish Cypriots and Turkey object to the search.