Biden holds calls with Cyprus president, Turkish Cypriot leader: White House

August 19, 2016 6:34 PM EDT

President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades smokes a cigarette as he waits for his car at the end of the second day of the EU Summit in Brussels, Belgium June 29, 2016. REUTERS/Phil Noble

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden held separate phone calls on Friday with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, and congratulated them both on progress in talks on reunifying the country, the White House said.

"The vice president expressed hope that the leaders would be able to make significant additional progress in the talks before their travel to the United Nations General Assembly, and that an agreement could be reached by the end of 2016," the White House said in a statement.

(Reporting by Eric Beech, editing by G Crosse)

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