POLITICS: Washington sees bright new future in Cyprus relations

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US Senator Robert Menendez said this was “a great moment for Cyprus” to form a new relationship with Washington, after a meeting with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades.

Menendez said he had an excellent meeting with Anastasiades and pointed long support for Cyprus.

“We had a very extensive, very positive discussion and I look forward to continue deepening the relation between the United States and Cyprus. I think there is a great moment for Cyprus, to find a whole new day in its relationship not only with the United States, but with the West,” Menendez said.

“We talked about many important subjects; the Eastern Mediterranean’s security strategy and energy strategy, Cyprus’ continuous engagement with the United States, questions of our foreign policy in the region, economic questions, the changing dynamics of Cyprus in its banking zone,” he added.

The New Jersey senator's comments came during his Nicosia visit after announcing a bipartisan bill seeking to lift a 1987 US arms embargo on Cyprus.

Introduced by Menendez, a Democrat and also a ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Republican Marco Rubio of Florida, the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019 would allow the US to fully support the trilateral partnership of Israel, Greece, and Cyprus through energy and defense cooperation initiatives – including by lifting the embargo on arms transfers to the Republic of Cyprus.

The legislation also seeks to update US strategy in recognition of consequential changes in the Eastern Mediterranean, including the recent discovery of large natural gas fields, and a deterioration of Turkey’s relationship with the United States.

“The United States has significant national security interests in the Eastern Mediterranean, bolstered by strong and expanding relationships with Greece, Israel, and Cyprus. The cooperation in energy security among these countries in recent years has paved the way for cooperation on a broad, regional security, economic, and energy agenda,” said Menendez of the pact.

Cyprus government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou is op0timistice the US arms embargo will be lifted.

 Prodromou said that military equipment was not the issue, however the political embargo, which was imposed in another time, was dissonance in the strategic relationship of Cyprus with the US.

He also noted that it was important the bill was tabled by both major parties in the US, something that “improves the possibilities and shows that this is a national issue for Cyprus and the United States”.