Nicosia.- Cyprus and the US have expressed willingness to engage in continued discussions to strengthen cooperation in the field maritime security. During a meeting of Cyprus` Defence Minister Christoforos Fokaides and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for European and NATO Policy, James Townsend and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Amanda Sloat, they also decided to explore the possibilities of cooperation against contemporary threats such as terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and other asymmetric threats.
The Minister of Defence expressed his gratitude for the high level of cooperation in support of the initiatives of the Republic of Cyprus, particularly humanitarian operations and search and rescue missions.
Fokaides also expressed the position of the Cypriot Government to strengthen relations with the United States on both a bilateral and multilateral level, with the aim, in particular, to promote peace, security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Earlier in the day, the American delegation, accompanied by US Ambassador to Cyprus John Koenig, met with President Nicos Anastasiades at the presidential palace, and later Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides at the foreign ministry.
According to the US embassy, the three-day visit, ending today, is part of strategic consultations to deepen bilateral cooperation between the US and Cyprus Republic in areas such as non-proliferation, counterterrorism, and maritime security.
Sloat and Townsend were expected to follow up with Cypriot officials on a range of transatlantic security priorities in the region that were discussed during US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Cyprus in May.
According to government sources, the meeting with the president went very well.
“Our relations are not only on the Cyprus problem, they are strategic on all levels, terrorism, energy, WMD, economy, many areas,” said the source, adding that contacts between the two will only increase and strengthen.
The chaotic destruction taking place in the Israel-Palestine conflict was also brought up during the meeting, with Cyprus’ role as a predictable, stable country enjoying good neighbourly relations with all sides (bar Turkey) mentioned.
US Vice President Joe Biden reaffirmed the United States` strong support for a settlement to reunify Cyprus as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality, during a telephone conversation on Friday with the President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades.
According to the White House, the two men discussed bilateral relations and other issues, while President Anastasiades informed the Vice President about the latest discussions on a comprehensive Cyprus settlement.
It is added that the two leaders also discussed the crisis in Ukraine, and the Vice President underscored the need to impose costs on Russia if it continued on its current path and failed to actively support a ceasefire, a roadmap for peace talks, the release of hostages, an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) border monitoring mission, and a halt to the transfer of heavy weapons and equipment to the separatists.