DIPLOMACY: Cyprus-US committed to boosting ties and security in East Med

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A statement of intent outlining Cyprus and US determination to bolster security cooperation was signed during a visit to Washington by Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides.

Bilateral relations, regional developments and the Cyprus problem were the main issues that were discussed during the meetings he had in Washington with his US counterpart Mike Pompeo and Wess Mitchell, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.

A statement of Intent of was also signed between the two countries.

At the State Department, Christodoulides and Mitchell signed a statement of intent to strengthen and develop bilateral security relations.

The statement will promote mutual interests in combatting terrorism, strengthening security at sea and borders and promoting regional stability.

“First, our bilateral relations and the mutual desire to strengthen bilateral relations at all levels. The statement of intent was signed within this framework, as it sets the outline of cooperation and how we should proceed next,” the minister said.

The second field, he added, is regional developments and the role the Republic of Cyprus can play through trilateral cooperation with neighbouring states.

Christodoulides said it is important that the US acknowledge the work that is being done and the results that will ensue from trilateral cooperation agreements and “we hope that soon there will be developments as far as the US participating in these”.

Expressing the government of Cyprus’ satisfaction on the signing of the statement of intent, Christodoulides said the further strengthening of the strategic partnership with the US is not directed against any third country.

“We are working on a positive agenda and through positive approach to handle common challenges and problems.”

Concerning Turkish warning, in view of ExxonMobil’s scheduled activities in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone, Christodoulides said that for the past six months Turkey has issued threats on a near daily basis against the government’s energy plans.

“We will not follow suit”, the minister said, adding that the Republic’s activities conform with international law and the Law of the Sea Convention of 1982.

A statement is expected to be issued by the State Department shortly which, said Christodoulides, will refer to the US position on Cyprus exercising its sovereign rights in its EEZ.