President expresses great satisfaction with Strategic Dialogue agreement with the US

President of the Republic, Nikos Christodoulides, has expressed great satisfaction with the agreement for the institutionalization of a Strategic Dialogue between the Republic of Cyprus and the United States of America reached during the visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Constantinos Kombos to the United States, noting that "as of today our country's bilateral relationship with the US is significantly strengthened."

In a written statement released by the Presidency of the Republic, President Christodoulides noted that "this is an agreement that upgrades and significantly strengthens the strategic relationship of the Republic of Cyprus with the United States, especially at an important juncture."

In addition to strengthening political, economic and social ties, the agreement is expected to bring multiple and multi-layered benefits, he said.

At the same time, he noted, "it will upgrade the cooperation between Nicosia and Washington in vital areas for the Republic of Cyprus, such as Energy, research and technology, as well as security. In addition, the prospects for investments in our country, as well as for the strengthening of our trade relations with the US, are important for the Cypriot economy. These are decisive factors in our effort to strengthen and shield the Republic of Cyprus."

At the same time, President Christodoulides said, "we are working intensively with the US authorities for the inclusion of our country in the visa waiver programme that will allow Cypriot citizens to travel to the United States without the need to obtain, in advance, an entry permit. In this context, a bilateral cooperation agreement on the use of travel data has been signed."

As of today, our country's bilateral relationship with the US is significantly strengthened, President Christodoulides said.

He welcomed "once again with great satisfaction the signing of the agreement", expressing the certainty "that in addition to the positive results for the two countries and our citizens, it will strengthen the international footprint of the Republic of Cyprus and the recognition it enjoys as a reliable and stable partner, as well as a pillar of security, cooperation and peace in the wider region of the Middle East."

Cyprus and US confirmed on 17 June the strategic aspect of their relationship and set the timetable for launching a Strategic Dialogue, that will be starting in September.

Kombos meets with Blinken

Announcements were made in Washington following a 45 minute meeting that Cyprus FM Constantinos Kombos had with State Secretary Antony Blinken at the State Department.

“This is an important moment in the relationship between the United States and Cyprus,” said Secretary Blinken.

“We will be announcing and initiating a strategic dialogue between our countries.  The first will take place this Fall in Cyprus.  I think it’s very powerful evidence of the strengthening, the deepening, the broadening of the relationship between our countries, acting together in so many different areas,” Secretary Blinken said.

The head of American diplomacy also referred to the maritime corridor for the transfer of humanitarian aid to Gaza as a typical example of the upgrading of US-Cyprus relations.

“The maritime corridor in Gaza is a prominent example. But if you look at what we’re doing in terms of trade, in terms of science and technology, in terms of security, in terms of education, in terms of people-to-people ties, you see a partnership, a relationship that’s growing stronger, that’s growing deeper," he pointed out.

Secretary Blinken said that this is a reflection of the fact that Cyprus is an important player in the region and a partner for the United States "that we deeply value." 

"So I’m so glad to have you here today as we work on actually practical ways of deepening this partnership and launching the strategic dialogue” he added, addressing Cyprus Minister.

Kombos in his statements said that “this is a very important day for our two countries." 

"The announcement for the establishment of the strategic dialogue is a very important development, and of course with that comes a responsibility,” he said.

Kombos went on to say that Cyprus and the US are moving forward in order to create a structured dialogue, "a dialogue that is going to be intensive, and that’s for the benefit of our people of our two countries." 

"We share common foundation – our core values; our respect, commitment to democracy, to the rule of law; our opposition to aggression and to revisionism.  And upon those we stand together, whether that’s in Ukraine or in relation to other places where we have such incidents,” the Cyprus Foreign Minister said.

Kombos said that Cyprus is a credible, predictable partner for the US at a very complicated region.

“The message is very simple:  Cyprus is part of the solution.  Cyprus is part of the answer.  It is through this lens that five decades of occupation of Cyprus by Turkey should be approached.  And on that, we count on the support of the United States,” he noted.

In his own statements following the meeting, the Cypriot Minister said that Cyprus operates autonomously, exercises its sovereignty, and we have seen this approach in a number of issues of global interest, such as the issue of the humanitarian corridor for Gaza.

He said that the initiative is progressing through the good cooperation that exists with the American side. 

As regards the Cyprus issue, Kombos noted that he pointed out our side's sincere will for the resumption of negotiations.

Our intention, he said, is to continue the effort, to intensify the meetings and discussions so that we can finally go back to the negotiating table. He said that there was full understanding and support on this by the American side, noting that "no discussion can take place outside the framework of the UN."

According to an official announcement, the meeting was held in a friendly and cordial atmosphere, the high level of Cyprus-US relations was confirmed and the start of a Strategic Dialogue between the two countries was announced.

After the meeting, according to the announcement, a bilateral agreement was signed between the Republic of Cyprus and the United States for cooperation in relation to the use of travel data. By signing this agreement, Cyprus moves one step closer to the inclusion of the Republic of Cyprus in the US Visa Waiver Program, the announcement reads.

The agreement was signed on behalf of the Republic of Cyprus by the Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus in Washington Evangelos Savva and on behalf of the USA by the American Ambassador in Nicosia Julie Fisher, in the presence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Constantinos Kombos and the Assistant Secretary of State of the USA for European and Euro-Asian Affairs James O'Brien.

(Source: CNA)

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