US State Secretary Mike Pompeo is scheduled to visit Cyprus next week where he will meet separately with the two leaders and reaffirm his country’s support for a UN-led effort to reunify the island under a federal roof.
(Click here for an update to the story)
According to a press release on Monday, Pompeo will travel to a number of Eurasian countries next week, starting on January 3 with Ukraine and Belarus, then Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, and finally wrapping his trip up in Nicosia on January 7.
Pompeo, who was visited in Washington last month by Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, had conveyed the message accordign to diplomatic sources that the United States were not contemplating a Cyprus settlement other than a Bizonal, bicommunal, federation.
The trip to Ukraine drew criticism in the US amid growing questions about Pompeo’s role in the Trump administration’s efforts to put political pressure on Kyiv for political favors
The State Department said Pompeo will travel to Nicosia on January 7 where he will meet with President Nicos Anastasiades and Christodoulides to “reaffirm the robust relationship” between USA and the Republic.
Pompeo is also scheduled to meet with Turkish Cypriot Leader Mustafa Akinci in a separate meeting on the same day.
The visit comes weeks after an EastMed bill was signed into US law, described by Senator Bob Menendez, a co-sponsor of the bill, as a “new day in Greek-American relations.”
Pompeo’s visit to Nicosia comes says after the scheduled signing of an intergovernmental agreement between Cyprus, Greece and Israel concerning the EastMed pipeline. The deal is expected to be inked on January 2 in Athens, while Italy is also expected to sign at a later date.
Last October, in an interview with Kathimerini Greece, Pompeo opted for diplomacy over the Cypriot EEZ, saying it was in America’s best interest to remain committed in the region.
“Our diplomats are out every day trying to create conditions where countries can talk and engage in dialogue and resolve their disputes in a peaceful way. We are optimistic that that can happen here as well,” he said.
Pompeo was recently rumoured to have been gearing up for a senate run in the state of Kansas, while White House officials denied the reports, citing conversations two days ago where the State Secretary was planning to stay put.
The trip to Ukraine also drew criticism in the US amid growing questions about Pompeo’s role in the Trump administration’s efforts to put political pressure on Kyiv for political favors.