Foreign Minister Nikos Chirstodoulides said Wednesday that Cyprus relations with the United States have made important steps in strengthening the security dimension, with the US increasingly acknowledging that Cyprus is part of the security frontier in the Eastern Mediterranean.
In his presentation at the first annual symposium of the Centre of Excellence in Risk and Decision Sciences – CERIDES, at the European University of Cyprus, the Minister referred to the three main pillars of Cyprus foreign policy, which are the enhancement and expansion of Cyprus relations with countries in the Middle East and the Gulf, a more active involvement of Cyprus within the EU, beyond issues that directly touch upon the Cyprus problem or Turkey and the strengthening of relations with the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, as well as with key players in the international arena such as Japan, and India.
“For example in our relations with the US, in recent years we have made important steps in strengthening the security dimension, an area in our relations that lacked behind, with the US increasingly acknowledging that Cyprus is part of the security frontier in the Eastern Mediterranean”, he said.
He also pointed out that the recently signed Statement of Intent between the US and Cyprus, which codifies concisely the fields of security co-operation between Cyprus and the US, was of “tremendous value from a practical point of view, but also symbolically as it serves notice that Cyprus can act proactively and effectively for the greater good”.
Referring to the trilateral cooperation schemes with countries in Cyrpus’ immediate region, the Minister said that the trilaterals were delivering concrete results, and indicative of this was the fact that a decision has been taken to establish a permanent secretariat for the trilaterals in Nicosia, with the aim of creating a centralized mechanism for implementation.
The Minister also said that the preparation of a National Security Strategy was in the final stages and that an unclassified version of the document would be available to the public soon.
For that purpose, as he said, a series of intensive consultations among relevant government services but also non-governmental actors was carried out. He added that it was the first time that this level of coordinated work, across the spectrum of government services and various non-governmental contributors, was undertaken in Cyprus.
“As you can imagine, the consultation process for the conceptualization and development of the Strategy was quite long and challenging. The output from this exercise was organized, and consolidated in order to formulate the Strategy. The document is now in the final stages of preparation and we hope that an unclassified version will be available to the public soon”, he said.
He also pointed out that the National Security Strategy “describes the ways and means to be employed toward achieving specific objectives in the larger context of promoting the national interest. The overarching objective is self-evident: to create an institutional framework which sets out the necessary conditions for the protection and safeguarding of the state’s independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and the resilience of society and state institutions”, he said.
Christodoulides said that the interests of the Republic of Cyprus are dictated by a number of factors, including: its geographical position at the crossroads of the continents of Europe, Asia and Africa, its status as a member state of the European Union, its resources and the military occupation of 36% of its territory by a significantly larger neighbor.
“With these in mind, the main principles underpinning the interests and the overall national security strategy of Cyprus are domestically, commitment to rule-of-law and safeguarding of constitutional order, and, externally, the primacy of international law and full respect for the UN Charter”, he said.
In this context, he added, the Republic of Cyprus strives for good bilateral relations and broad-based cooperation with other states and international actors and organizations, in the pursuit of a rules-based global order.
During the Symposium, a memorandum of understanding was signed, between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European University, identifying a number of objectives and areas of cooperation, including in the fields of crisis management and communication in the external aspects of regional and national security.
(Cyprus News Agency)