Turkish Cypriot leader to visit Washington for talks

Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat to visit Washington for talks with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, an official said Monday.

A spokesman for Talat said the agenda for the visit was not yet clear, but the Turkish Cypriot leader may also meet with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York.

U.N.-sponsored talks on Cyprus have been deadlocked since April 2004 when Greek Cypriots rejected a reunification plan drafted by Annan. Turkish Cypriots had accepted the deal.

The island has been divided into a Greek Cypriot south and Turkish Cypriot north since 1974, when Turkey invaded following an Athens-backed coup on the island. Cyprus joined the European Union in May 2004, but the island's division has excluded Turkish Cypriots from most benefits, reports the AP.

P.T.