By Stefanos Evripidou
PRESIDENT NICOS Anastasiades yesterday met with a senior US official for international security at the Presidential Palace to discuss the Ukraine crisis, Syria’s chemical weapons and the Cyprus problem.
Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller was in Cyprus yesterday as part of a visit to Europe and the region.
Speaking after the meeting, Gottemoeller said she was very honored and pleased to be in Cyprus where she discussed many issues of mutual interest with the president.
On the Cyprus peace process, she said the US was very interested in seeing good solutions found on the basis of the joint declaration reached between the two leaders in February.
“I know much work will be done and am looking forward to the opportunities for finding a solution to the long-running difficulties here in Cyprus,” she said.
Gottemoeller said she was also “very pleased to have the chance to talk about the crisis in Ukraine and the crisis between Russia and Ukraine”, adding that in Cyprus too “you see the effect and the necessity of strong international rule of law and strong norms related to sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
On Thursday, Cyprus was among 100 countries that voted in favour of a UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution affirming the body’s “commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty, political independence, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders”.
Cyprus’ representative at the UN Nicos Emiliou explained the Cypriot vote- a rare expression of criticism towards Russia, saying that Nicosia adheres to the EU declaration and European Council conclusions of March 20 in relation to the Ukraine crisis.
On the same day, the Cypriot parliament adopted a resolution asking the government to refrain from any actions that might hurt Cyprus’ relations with the Russian Federation.
Gottemoeller said she discussed with the president another area “where norms have played an important role”, the chemical weapons convention and the work underway to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons.
“Here too Cyprus has played such an important role as a centre for the UN task force that is involved in this work and also for the maritime operation that is protecting the removal process for the chemical weapons from Syria,” said Gottemoeller.
Before Cyprus, the Under Secretary visited the Netherlands to attend the Third Nuclear Security Summit and Israel where she met with Israeli counterparts to discuss regional security issues, arms control and nonproliferation policy, missile defense cooperation and export control matters.
According to the State Department, Gottemoeller came to Cyprus to discuss bilateral cooperation on a range of regional security and political-military issues.
She was also due to meet Sigrid Kaag, the special coordinator of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons -UN Joint Mission on eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons programme.