The US support fully Cyprus’ right to explore and exploit its energy resources

The US support Cyprus’ right to explore and exploit energy resources within its Exclusive Economic Zone, diplomatic sources have said, quoting US Vice President Mike Pence during his meeting with President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades.

The same sources said that Pence warmly welcomed the President at the West Wing in the White House and conveyed President Donald Trump’s greetings.

President Anastasiades said that the strategic partnership between the US and Cyprus has deepened over the past few years and from the first day of his election he redefined Cyprus’ external policy with the aim to strengthen bilateral relations with the US and upgrade relations with neighbouring states such as Israel, Jordan, Egypt and other countries.

President Anastasiades made special a reference to his relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On the issue of security and terrorism, the President gave Pence specific examples of cooperation with the US in these fields such as exchange of information and said this cooperation can be further strengthened in ways such as joint military manoeuvres.

The sources also referred to Cyprus’ good relations with countries of the region to help with the Middle East problem and volunteered to help in any initiative that the US undertake.

Furthermore, the sources referred to the trilateral cooperation which Cyprus and Greece are developing in the region and the energy issues while special reference was made to the discussion between Greece � Cyprus � Israel and Italy and Exxon Mobil undertaking to carry out exploration in the region.

President Anastasiades, according to the sources, also talked about Ankara’s threats against the Republic’s sovereign rights ahead of exploratory drilling by the French Total on 13 July and Italy’s Eni in January and ExxonMobil next year.

As regards the Cyprus problem, emphasis was placed on the issue of security and guarantees. President Anastasiades warned that no solution agreement will go through in a referendum if it includes guarantees and Turkish troops nor is it right for any EU member state to maintain such anachronistic system.

Anastasiades also informed Pence on his meeting with the UN Secretary General on Sunday and the agreement for a conference on Cyprus in Geneva at the end of June and stressed the need for good preparation to achieve good results and retain everything that was agreed in New York.

He further explained the significance of Cyprus maintaining its role after a solution, explained his positions on the Turkish demands over the four freedoms that Turkey demands and the consequences that will have on both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots if they are accepted. He said that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots had very good relations but the 1974 Turkish invasion and illegal settlement that followed have turned Cyprus’ northern Turkish occupied areas into an Islamic state.

The President expressed the hope that a solution is found so that Cyprus can remain a reliable US partner but expressed concern over Turkey and President Tayip Erdogan’s unexpected stance.

The US Vice President, according to the same sources, said he was pleased to welcome President Anastasiades to the White House and thanked him for everything he does in the fight against terrorism.

He assured that there is a strategic partnership between the US and Cyprus and referred to the fight against terrorism, noting that Cyprus is a special US partner, while making specific reference to maritime safety issues.

He also said that the US can encourage American investments in Cyprus.

Referring to the Cyprus problem, Pence welcomed the decision to return to Geneva to continue the conference on Cyprus, noting that the two sides should take a decision for the best result. He assured that the US will remain dedicated to assisting efforts for a solution in any way it is asked, noting that the current opportunity is the best one for a settlement.

Pence indicated he understands the situation on the island and referred to his visit to Cyprus ten years ago when he visited the Green Line.

He described as very important for the US the cooperation which the Republic is developing with neighbouring countries and the Middle East, a region of keen interest to the US.

Pence said that the US fully support Cyprus’ right to explore and exploit the energy resources within its Exclusive Economic Zone.

Source: Cyprus News Agency