ENERGY: US views Cyprus as a buttress to Russian influence in region

Washington aims to work with regional allies, Cyprus and Israel, to temper Russia’s influence and exploit energy reserves, US Congress Foreign Affairs Committee chair Eliot Engel said.

After meeting Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades on Monday, Engel said: The energy rights that this country has are exciting, it is a new threshold and I think that Mr Putin in Russia can’t and shouldn’t have been able to control the situation.”

Engel supported enhancing Cyprus-US relations and Washington lifting an arms embargo.

“This is no longer the 1970s and we have to look at each problem with a fresh look, and I am for that. I think again we have the opportunity to bring our two countries closer than never before and I want to be part of it.”

Asked about how the US position has changed in the East Med, Engel said: “With Russia’s malevolent machinations I think we are looking for friends who share our core values, democracy, and that is certainly the situation here as well.”

“There are always problems that have to be overcomebut I do think that the US and Cyprus share many, many goals,” said Engels.

I am excited about the prospects of working with Cyprus. I am excited about the prospects of our ally Israel working with Cyprus,” he added.

Ankara has issued a navigational telex, announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus until September 3.

The Turkish drill ship Fatih is located almost 40 nautical miles west of the Akamas peninsula and 83 nautical miles from the Turkish coast.

The area falls within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus.

Engel evaded commenting on Turkish activity in the Eastern Mediterranean: “I’d rather be more positive, talking with the President about relations between Cyprus and the US.

“I’ve always been a supporter of Cyprus. Obviously, I’ve always been at the Foreign Affairs Committee and now as the Chairman I want to do everything I can to continue to enhance the Cyprus-US relationship.

Source: The Financial Mirror