MOU signed between US and Cyprus for Land, Open-seas, and Port Security

US Secretary Michael Pompeo and the foreign minister of Cyprus signed an MOU to create a new training center to be funded by the United States and to be built in Cyprus.  It will provide expertise for the rest of the region on border security and non-proliferation.  It will be known as the Cyprus Center for Land, Open-seas, and Port Security, or CYCLOPS. 

Secretary Michael Pompeo thanked all the citizens of Cyprus and especially President Anastasiades, for the great meeting and for the hospitality.  He mentioned that their conversations reflected a robust, growing diplomatic, security, and economic partnership between the United States of America and the Republic of Cyprus. He further said that the US is proud to cultivate ties with nations that share their values. Mr Pompeo mentioned that the relationships between the two countries have become better, and he feels proud of that.  The security cooperation between the two countries is growing.  On September 1st the decision to temporarily waive export controls on direct commercial sales of non-lethal defense articles and services for the Republic of Cyprus was announced, and in July Cyprus was invited to participate in the US military training program known as IMET, which itself is something great and a big deal.

According to Mr Pompeo, security cooperation matters the most and the United States has raised the concern over Russia’s money-laundering activities and its regular port calls here.  All the Russian military vessels that stop in Cypriot ports are not conducting humanitarian missions in Syria, and the US had asked the Cyprus government and the President to consider their concerns. The President of the Republic of Cyprus mentioned the challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean related to energy exploration and development about which President Trump has already spoken with both President Erdogan and Prime Minister Mitsotakis. Mr Pompeo said that the countries in the region need to resolve disagreements – including on security and energy, resource and maritime issues – diplomatically and peacefully.  Increased military tensions help no one but adversaries who would like to see division in transatlantic unity.  Energy in the Eastern Mediterranean has the ability to bring states together.  Regional cooperation is absolutely necessary for durable energy security, the creation of new markets, and economic prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean. Mr Pompeo also said that the US remains deeply concerned by Turkey’s on-going operations surveying for natural resources in areas over which Greece and Cyprus assert jurisdiction in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Republic of Cyprus has the right to exploit its natural resources, including the right to hydrocarbons found in its territorial sea and its economic – exclusive economic zone and the resources of Cyprus should be shared equitably among the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots communities.

Mr Pompeo reiterated that the United States continues to support a comprehensive settlement to reunify the island as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation which would benefit all Cypriots as well as the wider region. (Pic courtesy: GreekReporter.com)

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