U.S.-Cyprus relations: From Good to Better

January 9, 2022

Op-Ed by Judith G. Garber, U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus

As we welcomed the New Year with gratitude for all we have received, I am optimistic about what lies ahead.  This was a strong year for U.S.-Cyprus relations, and I have every reason to believe that 2022 will be even better.

In 2021 we deepened our bilateral cooperation with a series of “firsts:” the first group of Cyprus National Guard leaders to participate in the U.S. International Military Education and Training program; the first Cyprus-hosted operational joint training between the U.S. Navy SEALS and the Special Operations Teams of the Cyprus National Guard; and the first U.S.-Cyprus Security Cooperation Dialogue that furthered understanding and identified future opportunities for cooperation.   As our security cooperation continues to grow, new firsts are on the horizon in 2022, including the inauguration of the Cyprus Center for Land, Open Seas and Port Security – CYCLOPS, a training center that will help the United States, Cyprus and the region face common security challenges.

But security is only one aspect of what Cyprus and the United States are achieving together.  As the pandemic continues, countries around the world are working to reinvigorate their economies.  The United States and Cyprus are no exception.  We are partnering to increase our economic ties, and rebuild our economies on stronger, firmer, more transparent, and resilient foundations.  In 2021, the U.S. Embassy and Republic of Cyprus partnered with business and community leaders to develop a plan to broaden and deepen our trade and investment relationships in key sectors.  In 2022, my team will work to identify innovative and mutually beneficial ways to ensure the economic recovery benefits people here and in the United States.  As we recover economically from COVID-19, we must also invest to build back better in a sustainable and climate-conscious way.

In 2021 the United States called on all nations to make ambitious plans to take action on climate change.  We must confront the climate challenge now, not leave it to future generations.  This is the decisive decade to invest in sustainable improvements – renewable energy sources like solar and wind, low and zero-emission vehicles, and energy efficient buildings – all to ensure we keep the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius.  When it comes to climate change, none of us win unless all of us win.  And the people of Cyprus know this, exemplified by the work of Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot scientists at universities and research organizations throughout Cyprus.

Climate change is one of the defining challenges of our era.  Another defining challenge of today is that across the globe, democracy and human rights are increasingly under siege. We continue to work with Cyprus to uphold our shared principles and freedoms.  The United States is focused on addressing rising authoritarianism, supporting human rights, and fighting corruption in our own country and around the world. These issues were recently discussed by Cypriots, Americans, and leaders from around the world at the first Summit for Democracy.  At the Summit, heads of government, civil society organizations, and the private sector institutions addressed challenges and opportunities facing democracies, and leaders, including President Anastasiades, announced individual and collective commitments, reforms, and initiatives to defend democracy and human rights.  I look forward to Cyprus playing a similarly key role at the in-person Summit for Democracy in 2022, when leaders will measure progress made and signal plans for meeting their stated goals.

I anticipate 2022 will bring with it new and positive developments in U.S.-Cypriot relations, and more “firsts” for us to celebrate together.  I am confident that when the time comes to reflect on 2022, we will see that the United States and Cyprus have continued to make enormous progress together on bilateral and global issues, based on our shared values and our hopes for greater peace and prosperity in our countries and in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Best Wishes to all for a very happy New Year!