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U.S. Ambassador: We are hopeful we will see progress on the tragic division of the island

By Judith Gaber, Ambassador of the United States of America to the Republic of Cyprus

In 2022, the U.S.-Cyprus bilateral relationship enjoyed wide expansion in the security, social, and economic arenas.

Our growing security partnership led to the lifting of defense trade restrictions on the Republic of Cyprus for the fiscal year 2023, opening the door for additional capacity building through possible sales of defense articles for increased capabilities and interoperability. We also opened new opportunities for collaboration and training with the announcement of a State Partnership between Cyprus and the New Jersey National Guards.

Our public diplomacy outreach and social engagement this past year included programs and events with Cypriots from all over the island and reflected the United States’ commitment to engaging with all the island’s communities. I was delighted to spend time with Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots at concerts; in festivals, marathons, and art galleries; and around my dinner table.

On the economic front, we responded to Russia’s war of choice on Ukraine, partnering regionally to thwart President Putin’s unprovoked aggression on his neighbor. Thanks to our combined efforts, sanctions against Russia are having an impact. We have blocked Russia’s access to billions of euros stockpiled by its Central Bank and have frozen many billions more of Russian oligarchs’ money. These are tangible obstacles in the way of those who would bankroll and prolong Russia’s illegal war and its devasting human costs.

As we look ahead, there are many opportunities to further expand our bilateral relationship. The SelectUSA Investment Summit in May provides an opportunity to advance U.S.-Cypriot business ties. Major U.S. energy companies are interested in exploration and potential development of their licensed blocks in the Republic of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ); there is also interest from U.S. companies in the Republic’s information and communications technology sector. We are already collaborating with the Digital Security Authority and the Office of the Commissioner of Electronic Communications to strengthen cybersecurity; an even more attractive information and communications ecosystem and business environment will attract additional investments. Moreover, we can now implement projects under the 2022 Science and Technology Agreement between the United States and the Republic of Cyprus, which can create exciting possibilities for collaboration on research, innovation, and start-up incubation. To that end, we hope to see more Cypriots choose the United States as their destination of choice for undergraduate and graduate studies. The U.S. Embassy’s EducationUSA Advisor offers free consultations to all Cypriots interested in pursuing their educational goals in one of over 4,000 U.S. higher education institutions; we welcome them to take advantage of this service.

Regionally, U.S. efforts in 2023 will continue to focus on security, including energy. Diverse, reliable, and accessible energy can only be achieved by transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy. That transition would also benefit generations of Cypriots to come. In Cyprus, the long-term challenges climate change presents are clear when we witness devastating wildfires and the degradation of the marine and coastal environment; the United States understands these threats all too well, and we stand ready to assist Cypriots with trainings on wildfire response, recovery, disaster preparedness, and resilience building.

Finally, as we look to the new year, we are hopeful we will see progress on a resolution to the tragic division of the island; the status quo is simply unacceptable. We support United Nations-facilitated, Cypriot-led efforts to reach a comprehensive settlement to reunify the island as a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality. With progress and development in so many areas, we hope we see advancement on the commitment to sincere dialogue on the issues that affect all Cypriots.

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