Developments in the Eastern Mediterranean region and determining the date of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visit to Cyprus, which was postponed due to the crisis with Iran, were the focus of a telephone conversation between US Acting Assistant Secretary of European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Reeker and Cyprus Foreign Affairs Minister Nicos Christodoulides, on Friday.
The State Department considers that Pompeo’s visit to the island would likely take place in Spring, diplomatic sources have said.
Pompeo was already set to sign a bilateral agreement during his visit and since the new timeframe allows it, the two men agreed to examine the possibility of signing one more agreement, out of two discussed during the Cypriot Foreign Minister’s visit in Washington last November.
Reeker and Christodoulides also discussed other current developments in Iran and Libya. Reeker said that he would also wish to visit Cyprus in the months to come.
Two other US officials are expected to visit Nicosia next week.
On Tuesday, US Assistant Secretary of Consular Affairs Carl Risch, will be in Cyprus, to discuss the inclusion of Cyprus in the US Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
Immediately afterwards, US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Francis Fannon will also visit Nicosia. Fannon will be in Cairo on January 17 to take part in the energy forum.
In the meantime, replying to a question on whether the US government is willing to help Greece and Turkey to de-escalate the tension between them, a State Department spokesperson said that the US “continually engages with the governments of Greece and Turkey to encourage de-escalation through diplomatic channels.”
“We continue to urge our NATO Allies, Greece and Turkey to work together to maintain peace and security in the region,” he added.
We encourage states, he noted, “to resolve their disputes peacefully in accordance with international law and call on all parties to refrain from all actions that risk heightening tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean.”
(Cyprus News Agency)