Pompeo to visit Cyprus in January to push for reunification talks

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Cyprus in early January to meet Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders and demonstrate U.S. support for fresh U.N.-led reunification talks on the divided Mediterranean island. 

Pompeo will travel to the Greek Cypriot capital Nicosia on Jan. 7, where he will meet with  Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides to reaffirm the robust U.S.-Republic of Cyprus relationship, the U.S. State Department said in a press release on Monday. 

Pompeo will also meet with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı, the State Department said.. “The Secretary will reaffirm to leaders of both communities continued U.S. support for UN-facilitated Cypriot-led efforts to reunify Cyprus as a bizonal, bicommunal federation in line with U.N. Security Council Resolutions,” it said.

Cyprus has been split between a Greek Cypriot administration in the south, recognised internationally as the government of the whole island, and a breakaway Turkish Cypriot government in the north recognised only by Turkey, after a Turkish invasion of the northern third of Cyprus in 1974. 

An arms embargo was imposed on Cyprus in 1987 in order to encourage reunification by preventing an arms race. The fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act approved by both the U.S. House and the Senate this month includes a conditional lift of an arms embargo imposed on Cyprus.

Anastasiades and Akıncı had dinner with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Nov. 26 in Berlin for informal talks to discuss reviving the unification efforts that have failed several times.