A memorandum of understanding signed in this week between the Greek Cypriot administration and the  U.S.  will harm efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue instead of contributing to peace and stability, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said on Sept. 14.

“The MoU signed between the U.S. and the Greek Cypriot administration on September 12, 2020, and envisaging the establishment of a ‘Land, High Seas and Port Security Center’ in the Greek Cypriot administration ignore the Turkish Cypriot side,” said in a statement by the Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy.

The lifting of an arms embargo by the U.S. from the Greek Cypriots and including the Greek side in the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program disrupts the balance and increases tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, Aksoy said.

In this respect, it’s striking that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo didn’t meet with the TRNC during his visit to the island, he added.

“We call on the U.S. to return to its traditional policy of neutrality regarding the island and to contribute to the efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue,” he mentioned.

On September 1, an arms embargo was partially lifted by the U.S. on the Southern Greek Cypriot administration whereas Mike Pompeo announced in July that the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus has been included in U.S. military training program for 2020.

In the aftermath of the forcible division of the island of Cyprus by the Greek Cypriots in the early 60s, the Turkish Cypriots suffered under a campaign of ethnic violence.

In 1974, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power following a coup aimed at Cyprus’ annexation by Greece. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) was founded in 1983, .

For many decades, talks were held to resolve the dispute, all of which resulted in failure. Most recent, held with the participation of the guarantor countries – Turkey, Greece, and the United Kingdom which ended in 2017 in Switzerland.

In 2004, the plan of then-UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to solve the issue was accepted by the Turkish Cypriots but rejected by the Greek Cypriots in referendums conducted on either side of the island.

In a recent report, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that “new ideas” might be needed for settling the issue of the island.

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