US Calls on Cyprus to Halt Visits of Russian Navy Vessels



The US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Matthew Palmer called earlier in the week on Cyprus to halt regular navy port calls by Russia.

Palmer was responding to a letter by the president of the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) Nick Larigakis who asked the US administration to remove the arms prohibition on Cyprus.

The U.S. Congress laid out specific criteria that Cyprus needs to fulfill before it is allowed to procure arms from the U.S. if it ever chooses to.

The law requires Cyprus to deny Russian military vessels to its ports despite a 2015 agreement with Moscow to do so. It also requires Cyprus — a financial haven for wealthy Russians to evade US sanctions — to comply with anti-money laundering regulations.

Palmer said that the US welcomed Cyprus’ “anti-money laundering measures, which showed important progress in strengthening AML [anti-money laundering] efforts and combatting illicit financial flows”.

But he added that “the United States continues to urge a halt in Russia’s regular navy port calls to the ROC. There is no doubt these vessels contribute to destabilizing actions in Syria.”

When Cyprus signed an agreement with Moscow to give Russian navy ships access to Cypriot ports Russian President Vladimir Putin said that other countries should not be concerned and that the port’s main use would be for counter-terrorism and anti-piracy.