With Turkey having warships off the coast of Cyprus trying to keep foreign energy companies from drilling for oil and gas, the Cypriot government and United States have signed a security deal aimed at fighting terrorism but also to strengthen sea borders.
It came as Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides met in Washington with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and also with Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell and Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Francis Fannon.
In statements after the meetings at the State Department, Christodoulides said the discussions with the two officials concentrated on three issues.
“First, our bilateral relations and the mutual desire to strengthen bilateral relations at all levels. The statement of intent was signed within this framework, as it sets the outline of cooperation and how we should proceed next,” the minister said, according to Kathimerini.
There was also discussion about the collapsed unity talks to try to make the island whole again with Turkey having unlawfully occupied the northern third since a 1974 invasion. The negotiations fell apart in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana when Turkish Presidente Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci refused to remove an army in the occupied territory and insisting on the right to militarily intervene.
American diplomat Jane Holl Lute, a United Nations envoy, is trying to get the two sides to talk again but, like all those before her, has gotten nowhere.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, stands with Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christoddoulides?, left, at the State Department in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, shakes hands with Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christoddoulides?, left, during a photo opportunity at the State Department in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)