Cyprus on Sunday expressed satisfaction over the results of the talks it had on Saturday with US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who paid a fleeting visit to the island.
In statements to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) , Foreign Minister, Nikos Christodoulides said that during his talks with President Nicos Anastasiades, which Christodoulides attended, the US official expressed the US commitment and interest in the broader Eastern Mediterranean region and the need for conditions of security and stability to prevail.
Emphasis was given on the need for such issues with Turkey to be resolved through dialogue or by recourse to the International Court of Justice, taking into consideration the 1982 UN Law of the Sea Convention.
With regard to the Cyprus problem, Christodoulides said that there was a need for a resumption of talks from where they left off in Crans-Montana in 2017, immediately after the elections in the north next month.
Referring to the fenced-off ghost town of Varosha, Christodoulides said discussions had focused on the role the US could play on this issue as a UN Security Council permanent member.
Anastasiades had told Pompeo of the negative impact any resettlement of the area would have on prospective Cyprus talks.
Christodoulides also said that in the framework of the discussion about the developments in the broader Middle East and Gulf region the two sides exchanged views on the importance of the trilateral cooperation schemes which Cyprus has developed with countries in the region as Israel, Egypt and the UAE, on the basis of a positive approach, with special references to the importance of the establishment of the Energy Forum in Cairo.
US-Cyprus bilateral relations were also discussed, noting that they had been significantly upgraded in various sectors. He said this was is shown by Cyprus’ participation in the US military training program IMET, the partial lifting of the US arms embargo on Cyprus and the signing of an MoU with Pompeo during Saturday’s meeting for the establishment of a training facility, in Cyprus, which will be named “Cyprus Centre for Land, Open Seas and Port Security” (Cyclops).
He said the signing of the MoU was a significant development and part of Nicosia’s broader goal for regional cooperation, taking into consideration that Cyprus has excellent relations with all neighbouring countries and can function as a regional centre for cooperation on the basis of a positive approach.
The two sides also discussed economic cooperation and assessed negotiations which are underway to lift visa requirements for Cypriot passport holders who wish to travel to the US.
Asked about a comment in Pompeo’s statement that he had raised during on “the US concern over Russia’s money laundering activities and its regular port calls” in Cyprus, the foreign minister said that as an EU member state and as a member of other international organisations, Cyprus fully abides by relevant anti money laundering international regulations.
On the issue of Russian ships, which the US wants to see sidelined in the region, Christodoulides said Cyprus provides humanitarian facilities to states and international organisations which request this kind of help.