The United States urges Cyprus to suspend Russia’s regular navy port calls
Defence Redefined
Published on 01/05/2020 at 22:56

The U.S Department of State welcomes the Cypriot government’s anti-money laundering measures, but it continues to urge a halt in Russia’s regular navy port calls to the Republic of Cyprus (ROC).

This was stated by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Matthew Palmer in response to a letter from the President of the American-Hellenic Institute (AHI) Nick Larigakis to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, urging him to immediately lift the US Arms Prohibition on the Republic of Cyprus and also to remove the Republic of Cyprus altogether from the list of countries to which arms sales are prohibited under International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

Taking anti-money laundering measures and halting Russia’s regular navy port calls to the ROC were preconditions for laws passed by Congress and signed by President Trump in December so as to lift the US Arms Prohibition on the Republic of Cyprus.

“On anti-money laundering efforts, the United States government welcomed the February MONEYVAL Mutual Evaluation Report on ROC’s anti-money laundering measures, which showed ROC’s important progress in strengthening AML [anti-money laundering] efforts and combating illicit financial flows”, he notes.

However, regarding Russian military vessels’ access, “the United States continues to urge a halt in Russia’s regular navy port calls to the ROC. There is no doubt these vessels contribute to destabilizing actions in Syria,” Matthew Palmer wrote in a letter, according to an AHI press release.

AHI President Nick Larigakis welcomed the letter’s reaffirmation of the United States’ view of the Republic of Cyprus as a “valued partner and friend in the Eastern Mediterranean” and assessment that U.S. cooperation with the Republic of Cyprus is at a “historic high”.

However, the president of AHI expressed his disappointment that several of AHI’s points made in his letter to Mike Pompeo (April 22) were not addressed.  

“The letter does not address the issue of removing the Republic of Cyprus from the ITAR list and did not acknowledge AHI’s points related to the issue of access of Russian military vessels to Cypriot ports”, Larigakis said.

He added that according to the letter, the State Department will review “all tools available to deepen security cooperation with the Republic of Cyprus”.

Finally, he thanked Matthew Palmer for the appreciation he expressed in the letter regarding the AHI’s efforts to deepen the bilateral relations between the United States and Republic of Cyprus.

With information from AHI, CNA




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