US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be traveling to Cyprus on Saturday in a bid to broker a “peaceful” solution to tension in the Eastern Mediterranean, while calling on Turkey to withdraw its ships, the State Department has reported.
The dispute between Greece, Cyprus and Ankara “has to be resolved in a way that’s diplomatic and peaceful,” Pompeo told reporters on Thursday as he traveled to Doha.
“The things that are taking place today in the Eastern Mediterranean are important and I want to have a chance to talk with the leaders in Cyprus about their perspective, their objectives, the things they would like to do. The president’s been very clear and he’s asked – he’s spoken with President Erdogan, he’s spoken with Prime Minister Mitsotakis, and in each case he’s said this has to – the disputes, the maritime disputes have to be resolved in a way that is diplomatic and peaceful,” Pompeo said, according to the State Department.
“I’ll be working on that project as well, trying to make sure that I understand the risks that are associated from the people of Cyprus’ perspective and take that on board as we continue to work on the challenges that the Eastern Mediterranean is presenting today. It’s something we’re very focused on,” he added.
The Germans “have done a good job” trying to get Greece and Turkey to “begin their conversations,” said Pompeo, adding that the US hopes that “the military assets that are there will be withdrawn so these conversations can take place.”
On the subject of the US’s decision earlier this month to partially lift an arms embargo against Cyprus, Pompeo reiterated that the waiver “was a long time coming.”
“We’d been working on it for a while. It was consistent with American policy for an awfully long time. It was simply the right timing to actually make the decision. So we completed our analysis, we made sure that we considered every set of risks associated, and we quickly moved out from there,” he said.