Minister: Cyprus a ‘reliable’ security partner to US

Jan 28, 2022, 3:25 AM | Updated: 7:04 am

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus has “all the ingredients” to be a “credible and reliable partner” for the U.S. in maintaining stability and security in the east Mediterranean region, the Cypriot foreign minister said on Friday.

Veteran politician Ioannis Kasoulides, who came out of retirement to retake his old job after the resignation of Nikos Christodoulides, says that bilateral relations with the U.S. have grown by “leaps and bounds” since 2013.

In a statement to the Associated Press ahead of his meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Kasoulides said the improvement in relations culminated in a law that the U.S. Congress passed in 2019 lifting embargo on non-lethal defense materiel and services.

The lifting of the embargo was made possible after Washington waived a requirement that Cyprus cease to offer refueling and other port services to Russian warships. The U.S. had accused Russia of playing a “very destabilizing role” in the east Mediterranean.

Kasoulides said Cyprus is ready to discuss concerns that any partner may have about the “malign influences” that another country is exerting in the region. But he noted that Cyprus is a small country with limited resources” whose foreign policy is guided by “strict adherence to international law and good neighborly relations.”

The Cypriot foreign minister said bolstering Cyprus’ position as an agent of regional stability are its “advanced networks of cooperation” with neighboring countries including Israel, Jordan and Egypt.

“We constantly strive to upgrade our role as an actor of regional stability, be it on a bilateral basis, which … includes European allies, or through the trilateral mechanisms that have repeatedly proven their worth,” Kasoulides said.

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Minister: Cyprus a ‘reliable’ security partner to US