US Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf was expected for a two-day visit in Cyprus starting on Monday, before heading off to Bahrain and Qatar for talks with regional counterparts on bolstering security cooperation and information sharing.
In Cyprus, Secretary Wolf and Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Christodoulides will on Monday afternoon attend the groundbreaking ceremony, in Larnaca, for the premises of the regional Cyprus Center for Land, Open Seas and Port Security (CYCLOPS), which is the result of a Cyprus-US bilateral cooperation program.
The construction of the CYCLOPS regional border security training hub in Cyprus was announced by the State Department in September following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Christodoulides. According to a fact sheet by the US State Department, the training hub serves to expand on the US' increasingly fruitful security relationship with the Republic of Cyprus through bolstered support for capacity-building in nations where in-country training is impossible.
CYCLOPS will allow the United States to provide technical assistance in more areas related to security and safety, including customs and exports control, port and maritime security, and cybersecurity.
The training facility will include a number of different hands-on training platforms, including a mock land border crossing, passenger screening area, and a mobile cyber security training lab, which will enable regional partners to learn best practices for securing critical infrastructure and to engage in cross border, counterproliferation cyber investigations.
On Tuesday, Christodoulides will receive Wolf at the ministry for one-to-one talks, followed by consultations with official delegations, with the aim of reviewing Cyprus-US bilateral cooperation.
According to Cyprus’ Foreign Ministry, the issues discussed will also include the next steps for Cyprus’ induction into the US Visa Waiver Program. The two officials are also expected to sign a Declaration of Intent between the governments for cooperation in the field of border security.