By Ioannis Kasoulides, Minister of foreign Affairs, Republic of Cyprus
Reviewed by Francis P. Sempa, Contributing Editor
In a recent talk at the Brookings Institution, the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Cyprus, Ioannis Kasoulides, presented a Cypriot perspective on the international issues of the Eastern Mediterranean region, which, unsurprisingly, placed the Republic of Cyprus at the center of the region’s geopolitics.
The Foreign Minister made it clear that his government sees itself as part of the Western security system, touting its membership in the European Union and its friendly relations with Israel. He emphasized his government’s desire to be a partner of the United States in economic and security matters in the region.
He reviewed the many security issues that are common to both Cyprus and the United States, including Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons, the developments of the “Arab Spring” in the region, the ongoing situation in Syria, and the exploration, development, and transportation of natural gas in the region. He pointed out that Cyprus is “situated at the strategic point of the entrance to the Suez Canal,” the route through which gas exports from the region travel to Asia.
Foreign Minister Kasoulides ended his talk with a discussion of his government’s ongoing difficulties with Turkey.
This speech is a welcome reminder to Americans that geography makes Cyprus potentially an important player in the Middle-East Persian Gulf region, an area once referred to be diplomats as the Near East.