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10° Nicosia,
20 January, 2019
 
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Radical change in our region

The relations of Greece and Cyprus with Israel were basically the key catalyst for recent developments

Alexis Papachelas

Alexis Papachelas

Something significant appears to be taking shape in Greek-US relations as Ankara ramps up tensions over oil and gas rights in the Eastern Mediterranean.

In Washington’s view, there is an axis in the making, starting from Israel, crossing through Cyprus and Greece, and culminating in Poland. These are all countries that have a strategic relationship with the United States while also offering military facilities.

It is also clear that US governing officials are working on a Plan B outlining what Washington’s response should be in the event that Turkey continues to detach itself from western interests. The brainchild of US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell, that plan is expected to be discussed during a meeting scheduled for December 13 in Washington on ‘US-Greece Strategic Dialogue.’

Meanwhile little attention is being paid to several interesting developments. The chief of Cyprus’s armed forces recently met with his US counterpart. The Cypriot foreign minister met with his American peer and with the White House national security advisor.

This sort of thing never used to happen in the past and they cannot be described as routine meetings. What will come of this flurry of activity, however, is hard to say, and, it almost goes without saying, Greek and Cypriot ambitions should be restrained.

There is no doubt that our region is undergoing radical change.

The relations of Greece and Cyprus with Israel were basically the key catalyst for recent developments. It is of paramount importance, however, that those in positions of power practice caution and strive to avoid mistaken assumptions about how the US and Israel would react in the event of a confrontation in the Aegean or further south.

Greece should set national goals and pursue them in the context of all the tectonic shifts in the region. There are some good things being done that we don’t know about. However, securing guarantees for the country’s security should be one of our key national goals. Another should be to one day see American warships off the Aegean islands of Agathonisi or Kastellorizo.

In this region no one expects that someone else will fight for them if the need arises. But there are certain maneuvers that could help avert the situation from escalating dangerously.

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