Cyprus and the USA signed on Tuesday a Declaration of Intent on strengthening cooperation on border security issues, in view of enhancing their capacity to counter common threats and foster stability in the region.
The Declaration was signed in Nicosia by the Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Christodoulides and US Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf.
According to an official announcement, after the signing of the Declaration, Christodoulides said that Wolf’s visit attests to how far the Cyprus-US partnership has evolved and progressed over the past few years.
Christodoulides noted that the Declaration comes at a time of significant developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and the broader Middle East - developments that inevitably impact regional security.
The Cypriot Minister noted that there is no better proof of Cyprus’s role as a reliable partner, as a credible enabler of regional security and stability, than the steady flow of incoming visits from US Officials, including the recent visit by State Secretary Pompeo.
Christodoulides pointed out that the bilateral relations between the two countries have marked a remarkable progress, particularly in the areas of regional security and defence, but also in the context of other areas such as energy, counter–terrorism and economic cooperation.
At the same time, he went on to say, “our growing cooperation in the context of the trilateral nexus of regional synergies and the 3+1 format with Greece and Israel is very much worth noting”.
The Minister said that “it is against this backdrop of expanding cooperation that we have just signed a Declaration of Intent on strengthening our cooperation on border security issues, with a view to enhancing our capacity to counter common threats and foster stability in the region”.
In addition, he noted that the Declaration also reaffirms the two countries’ shared determination to continue to work towards achieving full visa reciprocity, in line with our common end–goal of improving reciprocal travel, to the benefit of our people to people contacts and business.
“Indeed, progress achieved in the process for the accession of Cyprus to the US Visa Waiver Program was one of the topics we discussed at length with Chad today, mapping the next steps”, Christodoulides added.
Christodoulides said that during their discussion they also had the opportunity to identify ways of further expanding cooperation in security issues, including through training, transfer of know-how and development of infrastructure. Such cooperation, he said, will bolster our capacity in Cyprus to counter new threats, including challenges of hybrid nature.
To this end, he added, the establishment of a regional Training Center (CYCLOPS) in Larnaca, for which the groundbreaking ceremony was held on Monday, sends a clear signal as regards the strategic calibre of the Cyprus-US partnership.
The Foreign Minister said that he briefed the US Official on Cyprus’ vision for the broader region. “A region with a lot of untapped potential that could be harnessed for the benefit and prosperity of all the peoples of the region, with no exception. We have already been hard at work with almost all our neighbours in this direction, on the basis of a strictly positive agenda and we hope that the cooperation networks that have been developed will continue to expand in the coming years to include all countries of the region, provided that they respect and abide by International Law and the principles of good neighbourly relations.”
Christodoulides also stated that during the meeting he took the opportunity to brief Chad Wolf on the latest developments on the Cyprus Problem.
“The support of the United States – a permanent member of the UN Security Council - to our efforts to reunify Cyprus, and to the ongoing initiative of the UN Secretary General for the resumption of negotiations from the point where they were suspended in Crans Montana, is of utmost importance”, he pointed out.
Finally, Christodoulides reiterated the firm commitment to keep driving forward the partnership between Cyprus and the US — a partnership that is based on a positive agenda — to the benefit of our peoples and in the interest of security and stability in the broader region of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.
Ministers of Justice, Interior discuss border control, cybersecurity and terrorism with Wolf
Cybersecurity, border control and terrorism were on the agenda of a meeting held on Tuesday between the Ministers of Justice and Interior Emily Yioliti and Nicos Nouris, and Acting US Secretary of Homeland, Chad Wolf.
A press release issued by the Justice Ministry says that during the meeting the importance of the cooperation between Cyprus and the US was underlined.
The Justice Minister and the US Acting Secretary agreed to further enhance the bilateral cooperation between law enforcement authorities through joint mechanisms and tools for the exchange of information as regards security.
The Ministers also discussed with Wolf the issue of visa waiver for Cyprus citizens traveling to the US.