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Cyprus

US state dept official to discuss arms embargo with president

US State Deputy Assistant Secretary Matthew Palmer

President Nicos Anastasiades will meet on Thursday with US State Deputy Assistant Secretary Matthew Palmer who is on the island to discuss the US arms embargo on Cyprus.

According to US State Department director of the south European desk, Yuri Kim, Palmer is in Cyprus to discuss the arms embargo so that it is understood what Nicosia wants and then decide how to get there.

Kim said strengthening ties with Cyprus is to the benefit of the US, as is enhancing relations with Greece.

She was addressing Tuesday’s panel discussion at the 35th Annual Conference of the International Coordinating Committee – Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) in Washington, along with former US ambassadors to Greece and Cyprus, Daniel Smith and Kathleen Doherty, and Senate Foreign Relations Committee minority side chief advisor Damien Murphy.

“There have been many practical steps taken and we are going to continue that,” Kim said, referring to Cyprus-US bilateral relations. “This is precisely the reason Deputy Assistant Secretary Matthew Palmer is on the plane now to Nicosia.”

She pointed out that in recent months a deputy assistant secretary from the US counterterrorist bureau had visited Cyprus, as had an assistant secretary from the Treasury Department to work on improving the transparency of the banking sector.

“There are lots of things that we want to do and we need to do, but in these things must you keep in mind it’s a two-way street, it takes two to tango,” she said.

Kim noted that “over the next few weeks and months you will also see little bit more action, some are involving strong congressional interest – always very helpful – but in reality there will be things happening that we surely won’t advertise.”

Regarding the US stance on the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (Unficyp), Kim said “we have policy regarding peacekeeping operations” in general, one of the being that “there has to be an exit strategy” and a second being that “these peacekeeping operations have to be in support of the political process, not in place of the political process.”

Anastasiades is to receive Palmer at the Presidential Palace at midday on Thursday.

 

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