A senior US Department of Defense official is making a formal visit to Athens Nicosia next week for consultations with the Greek and Cypriot administrations, according to a report from Washington.
The Cyprus News Agency correspondent in the US capital reported on Saturday that Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policy, Thomas W. Goffus, will travel to Greece and Cyprus and meet with government officials, including Cyprus Defense Minister Savvas Angelides, to discuss bilateral cooperation in defense matters.
CNA reported that the green light for Goffus’ visit was given by Wess Mitchell, Assistant Secretary of State, who visited Cyprus last month. The agenda of Goffus’ visit to Athens includes the two countries’ relations as members of NATO and Greece’s armament program.
Diplomatic sources in Washington have said that due to the increasing tension between the US-Turkey relations, alternative choices are under study, including moving the US Incirlik air base.
This is the second visit to Cyprus by a high-level Pentagon official and follows Goffus’ predecessor’s visit to the island in 2014. James Townsend visited Cyprus a few months after former US Vice President Joe Biden’s arrival and the visit was seen as part of upgrading bilateral relations.