US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will pay an unexpected visit to Cyprus on Saturday in an effort to ease tensions in the eastern Mediterranean.
Pompeo called on Turkey to pull back its forces and said that his trip to Cyprus would complement phone calls between President Donald Trump, his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
The dispute “has to be resolved in a way that’s diplomatic and peaceful,” Pompeo told reporters en route to Doha, Qatar, where he will help inaugurate long-awaited talks between Afghanistan’s government and the Taliban.
“So 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,” Pompeo said.
The Secretary of State credited Germany with also seeking to lower tensions in the area. France has also been active on the maritime rift and has staunchly backed Greece and Cyprus.
“We hope there will be real conversations and we hope the military assets that are there will be withdrawn so that these conversations can take place,” Pompeo stated.