President Nikos Christodoulides on Tuesday expressed “great satisfaction” with the agreement to establish an ongoing strategic discourse between the Republic and the USA.

Deputy government spokesman Yiannis Antoniou, speaking to state broadcaster CyBC said the process to achieve the formalisation had been taking place for years.

“The time was ripe, as well as the wider climate, and the effort was intensified,” Antoniou said, adding that the Amalthea initiative had been a catalyst in bringing the two countries together, making Cyprus a “bridge” for cooperation.

This culminated in the agreement announced after the US visit by Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos who met his counterpart US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Monday.

Cyprus and the US confirmed that a timetable had been set for developing the strategic relationship, and dialogue will start in September in Nicosia.

Working groups will be established and high-level representatives from the two foreign ministries are expected to meet, Antoniou said.

The dialogue is also expected to be catalytic for the Cyprus problem, Antoniou added, through an upgraded relationship with the US.

“We estimate this will be substantial for our efforts to solve the Cyprus issue,” he said.

Asked about concerns that relationships with other states could be undermined by its closer ties to the US, particularly permanent members of the UN security council, the deputy spokesman replied that Cyprus maintained “excellent relations” with a wide range of states.

“It has been agreed that the special relationship with the US in no way conflicts with other relationships the [country] maintains as an independent state, with any member or non-member of the UNSC, or any other third party state,” he said.

Amalthea was a “geographically enabled” endeavour and Cyprus has historically maintained good relations with all the parties in conflict in the region, including the Arab states and Israel, Antoniou said.

This, along with the fact that the island is a bridge between Asia and the West, and an EU member, is what has brought Cyprus into the US orbit where it is seen as a reliable partner and “pillar of stability”, he said.

The agreement, hailed as a “historic moment” , means Cyprus now joins a list of 30 countries with which the US has formalised a strategic dialogue, of which 13 are EU member states.

“As of today, our country’s bilateral relationship with the US is significantly strengthened,” Christodoulides said in response to the announcement.

The president, in a written statement on Tuesday, noted that the US-Cyprus agreement “upgrades and significantly strengthens the strategic relationship of the [two countries] at an especially important juncture”.

In addition to strengthening political, economic and social ties, the agreement is expected to bring multiple benefits, he said.

“[The agreement] will upgrade the cooperation between Nicosia and Washington in vital areas such as energy, research and technology, as well as security. Prospects for investments, as well as strengthening of our trade relations are decisive factors in shielding the Republic of Cyprus,” he said.

At the same time, the president said, efforts were underway to include Cyprus in the US visa waiver programme.

“We are working intensively with the US authorities for the inclusion of our country in the visa waiver programme that will allow Cypriot citizens to travel to the United States without the need to obtain an entry permit [in advance],” he said, adding that a bilateral cooperation agreement on the use of travel data had been signed as the first step in this direction.

“In addition to the positive results for the two countries and our citizens, [the agreement] will strengthen [Cyprus’] international footprint and the recognition it enjoys as a reliable and stable partner, as well as a pillar of security, cooperation and peace in the wider region of the Middle East,” Christodoulides said.

In concrete terms, the strategic dialogue means Nicosia and Washington will engage in high-level talks twice a year on matters concerning humanitarian crisis management; terrorism and security; energy; trade and investment; education and culture.

There will also be continuous communication “at all levels” between both countries.

In statements on Monday, Blinken said the maritime corridor in Gaza was an example the deepening relationship between the countries. But the relationship was also growing deeper in the areas of trade, science and technology, security, education and “people-to-people ties”.

“It’s a reflection of the fact that Cyprus is an important player in the region and a partnership for the United States that we deeply value,” Blinken stated.

Kombos for his part underscored Cyprus was no longer “a problem but a solutions state” and “a credible, predictable partner for the US”.