Chairman of the US Congress Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel sent a veiled message to Russia about staying out of Cyprus’ energy programme, but avoided getting into Turkey’s activities in the island’s exclusive economic zone, following a meeting he had on Monday with President Nicos Anastasiades
Speaking after the meeting, Engel expressed support for furthering Cyprus-US relations and said he was excited about Cyprus and Israel working together on energy.
Asked if enhancing Cyprus-US relations involved the lifting of the US arms embargo on the island, Engel said: “There will be negotiations, there will discussions and I think there will be progress made.”
“This is no longer the 1970s and we have to look at each problem with a fresh look and I am for that. I think again we have the opportunity to bring our two countries closer than never before and I want to be part of it. I think it is important for both countries,” he added.
Asked how the US Congress viewed Turkish actions in the Eastern Mediterranean, Engel said: “I’d rather be more positive, talking with the President about relations between Cyprus and the US. We both agree that things are moving in a positive way, that we have the opportunity now to have a closeness in ties unprecedented between our two countries and I want to do everything I can”.
“I’ve always been a supporter of Cyprus. Obviously, I’ve always been at the Foreign Affairs Committee and now as the Chairman I want to do everything I can to continue to enhance the Cyprus-US relationship,” Engel noted.
Asked to comment on how the US view has changed regarding the Eastern Mediterranean, Engel said: “With Russia’s malevolent machinations I think we are looking for friends who share our core values, democracy, and that is certainly the situation here as well.”
“There are always problems that have to be overcome. It is not a hundred in one way and zero in other way but I do think that the US and Cyprus share many, many goals, many goals of democracy. I am excited about the prospects of working with Cyprus. I am excited about the prospects of our ally Israel working with Cyprus,” he added.
“We have an opportunity for peace and cooperation as never before. The energy rights that this country has are exciting, it is a new threshold and I think that Mr Putin in Russia can’t and shouldn’t have been able to control the situation.”