CYPRUS: Cypriot Foreign Minister in key US visit on energy and security

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Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides flies to Washington on Monday for talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on energy and security as regional tensions rise.

During his stay in the US capital, Christodoulides will also hold meetings with Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Francis Fannon and Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell, on Tuesday, while on Wednesday he visits the White House for talks with National Security Advisor John Bolton.

The main topics on the US agenda are bilateral relations, energy, the Cyprus issue, and regional developments.

US giant ExxonMobil is scheduled to start test drilling for oil and gas offshore Cyprus in the coming weeks while Ankara has warned there are consequences any firm that does so.

There is speculation that Christodoulides and Mitchell will announce the intention to open a US-Cyprus strategic dialogue.

In September, Christodoulides met Mitchell and stated that the results of that meeting, concerning security, energy and politics, would be announced during a high-level visit.

On Thursday, Christodoulides will be in New York to meet US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, with the main topics on the agenda being the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and the involvement of the Security Council in developments regarding the Cyprus issue.

Christodoulides will then return to Washington to attend a dinner hosted by Pompeo.

The Minister will wrap up his visit on Friday with a debate at Atlantic Council think tank.