A senior U.S. State Department official has repeated Washington's support for Cyprus' right to carry out an offshore search for oil and gas.
Assistant Secretary of State Wess Mitchell told reporters after talks with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades on Friday that the U.S. also wants to see a resumption of talks to reunify the ethnically divided island nation.
Mitchell's remarks come amid Turkey's strong opposition to what it calls a "unilateral" Greek Cypriot search for hydrocarbons that doesn't directly involve breakaway Turkish Cypriots.
Last month, Turkish warships prevented a rig from reaching an area southeast of Cyprus where Italian company Eni planned to carry out exploratory drilling.
ExxonMobil and partners Qatar Petroleum are scheduled to start drilling southwest of the island this year. France's Total is also licensed to drill.