America lifted sanctions on Cyprus, Mediterranean rallied
On September 1, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington was formally committed to lifting the 33-year-long arms embargo against the Republic of Cyprus and would promote security cooperation with the island nation. .
“The Republic of Cyprus is a key partner in the Eastern Mediterranean region. We will waive restrictions on the sale of weapons and non-lethal defense services to the Republic of Cyprus in the next fiscal year.
For his part, since waiting for the US to lift this embargo for a long time, the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, immediately expressed his applause for Washington’s move.
It is worth mentioning that the US’s decision to lift the arms embargo against the Republic of Cyprus and promote security cooperation with the island nation comes amid growing tensions between America’s allies in the Eastern Mediterranean. increase.
|American allies have continuously increased tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean|
Specifically, two allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Turkey and Greece, had conflicts over potential hydrocarbon resources in this area, arising from disagreements between the two countries over the scope of the shelf. geography.
It all started with the event that took place on November 25, 2018, when the Republic of Cyprus, Israel, Greece and Italy announced an agreement to jointly build the world’s longest undersea pipeline to transport gas. from the East Mediterranean to Europe.
At the meeting, Nicosia added that, based on the exploration drilling results of Exxon Mobil Corporation, Total Group and Eni Group in the exclusive economic zone of the Republic of Cyprus, the country will participate more deeply in the project. pipeline “3 best” above.
Specifically, if detecting a gas field with large reserves, the Republic of Cyprus will promote the implementation of a plan to build a gas liquefaction plant and to build a pipeline connecting to the Eastern Mediterranean gas pipeline.
On November 27, 2018, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that “reckless” oil and gas exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean would pose a threat to the Republic of Cyprus and Greece.
Because in Ankara’s view, such oil and gas exploration activities could take away a lot of resources off the coast of Cyprus, which would seriously affect the interests of Northern Cyprus sponsored by Turkey.
On May 29, 2020, Turkey announced that it would send a research vessel to the Eastern Mediterranean for its oil and gas exploration plan in this area because of Turkey’s energy independence. On August 10, 2020, the Oruc Reis arrived in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Even on August 10, 2020, Greece reacted to the actions of Turkey, when Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis held a meeting with military leaders and put the country’s naval fleets on standby. fights.
Prime Minister Mitsotakis also discussed the East Mediterranean conflict with European Council President Charles Michel and North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
On August 12, 2020, a Greek warship collided with a Turkish warship in the Eastern Mediterranean. Although the incident was described as an “accident”, it showed that the situation in this area was very stressful.
Tensions were pushed higher, when on August 26, 2020, Greece conducted three-day joint exercises with France, Italy and the Republic of Cyprus in the southern Republic of Cyprus and the Greek island of Crete. Greece, belongs to the Eastern Mediterranean.
Greece’s Defense Ministry said tensions and unrest in the Eastern Mediterranean have increased disputes over free navigation issues and that joint exercises are aimed at promoting respect. International law.
Thus, for the past 2 years, US allies have been continuously heating up in the Eastern Mediterranean and Turkey is almost isolated. In this context, the US’s lifting of the arms ban for the Republic of Cyprus will make the Mediterranean Sea more raging.
|The Mediterranean could be stirred up after the US action to remove the Cyprus sanctions|
Is Washington acting only for Ankara or because of Moscow?
Washington’s move was fiercely criticized by Ankara. Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said that the US decision “does not take into account” fairness and balance “in the island nation of Cyprus and Ankara urged Washington to” reconsider “the decision.
“In other words, as a sponsor, Turkey will take the necessary responses, consistent with its historical and legal responsibility to ensure the security of Turkish Cypriots. Turkey “.
Thus, at first glance, Washington’s move can be seen as a division of allies, whose aim is to isolate Ankara. However, according to analysts, the US lifted sanctions on Cyprus because of Russia rather than just Turkey. Why so?
Remember, on April 22, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo once announced that the United States plans to lift sanctions on the Republic of Cyprus, if the state government closes the port with Russian Navy ships operating on. Mediterranean.
The Republic of Cyprus is very concerned with the lifting of sanctions by the United States, as this has been repeatedly mentioned by Nicosia, so it is almost certain that the Republic of Cyprus will follow the US suggestion and may close the port with ships of the Russian Navy.
According to military experts, by such a measure, the United States can neutralize the harm from Russia’s strengthening in the Mediterranean, especially the Russian warships equipped with regular cruise missiles to the East. Mediterranean.
“The US has realized it is losing control of the Mediterranean. In the past, Russian warships only viewed the Mediterranean as a transit point, but now the Russian Navy has a nearly permanent presence in the Mediterranean, preventing the United States from doing so. can cope, “Avia-pro quoted.
Although the government of the Republic of Cyprus has no official comment on the matter, given the prospect of Washington’s consideration of lifting the sanctions, Nicosia will certainly consider such a move.
Again, on February 25, 2015, the Republic of Cyprus and the Russian Federation signed an agreement that allows Russian naval ships the right to access ports on this third-largest Mediterranean island, according to the BBC. .
The above agreement is the result of talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades during his visit to Russia. The agreement helped formalize the use of the Cyprus port by the Russian Navy.
Although the Russian President reassures other countries not to worry, because Russian naval ships docked mainly for the Republic of Cyprus, mainly for counterterrorism and piracy activities, Russia has in fact exploited the Russia-Cyprus Agreement. for many purposes.
So, if Nicosia “got the light” of Washington, then it would be a very serious problem for the Russian Navy, when docking in the Republic of Cyprus was almost a constant demand for Russian warships operating in the Territory. Trung Hai.
As US allies escalated tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, Russia is said to have “splashed water with the rain”, increasing forces present in these strategic waters, creating concern. of America and its allies.
|Russia increases its presence in the Mediterranean|
That was evident in NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, on June 12, when he expressed deep concern about the increase in the Russian Navy’s presence in the eastern Mediterranean.
According to the head of the NATO Executive Board, the increased presence of the Russian Navy in these strategic waters would pose a serious threat to the US-NATO strategy in the Middle East-North Africa, given the situation. Libya is in danger.
Thus, the lifting of sanctions on the Republic of Cyprus became urgent and Washington acted, but the display of “the most important side of the contempt” between Athens-Nicosia and Ankara was only a “front”, and it invalidated Moscow. that is the purpose.
Analysts said that the US could invalidate the Russia-Cyprus Agreement because Moscow exploited the agreement for many purposes so that Nicosia could “become the flag”, but the United States could not nullify Russia to and its ally to monopolize the Mediterranean. Hai from this move.
As for the conundrum that Washington posed to Moscow in the case of Nicosia “turning the flag”, President Putin had the answer and the answer – the answer and the answer to that difficult problem named: Tartous, Syria.