US secretary of State to Visit Cyprus and Calls on Turkey to Withdraw Naval Forces from Mediterranean

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that he would visit Cyprus on Saturday to seek a peaceful solution to end the growing tension in the Mediterranean region.

Pompeo said Thursday that his visit to Cyprus will come to complement contacts made by US President Donald Trump with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

“It (the conflict) must be resolved in a diplomatic and peaceful way,” Pompeo told reporters.

“So, I will work on this in an effort to make sure that I understand the dangers associated with it from a Cypriot point of view,” he added.

Pompeo pointed out to Germany’s role in seeking to reduce tension, as France played a key role in the maritime dispute and strongly supported Greece and Cyprus.

“We hope that there will be a real dialogue and we hope that the military assets will be withdrawn so that these talks can be held,” Pompeo said.

Turkey, which is searching for gas and oil reserves in waters claimed by NATO member Greece, last month deployed an expedition ship supported by military frigates.

Greece responded with naval military exercises.

Pompeo’s visit came shortly after the United States lifted the decades-old embargo on Cyprus, which angered Turkey.