NICOSIA, July 10. /TASS/. Cyprus has wonderful relationships with Russia and China and nobody will be able to harm them, the Cypriot Department of Press and Information told TASS on Friday, citing Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades’s Thursday's comment for reporters.
The Cypriot leader commented on US plans to offer an educational and training program for Cypriot service members, which Cyprus’ Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL) opposes believing that the United States is dragging Nicosia in dangerous geopolitical games that could harm relations with Russia.
"I would like to express satisfaction about the US decision, but at the same time to assure those concerned that those wonderful relationships we have with both Russia and China will never be damaged," the president said.
Anastasiades added that being a small country, Cyprus "seeks the best relations with all the permanent members of the [United Nations] Security Council."
On July 8, the US embassy in Nicosia announced that Washington would offer an educational and training course starting in 2021 for the Cypriot National Guard in conformity with American standards under the US International Military Education and Training (IMET) program. The Cypriot authorities welcomed the idea in any possible way, but have not yet made any direct statements whether the Republic of Cyprus would accept the proposal.
In the meantime, the Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL) said that Washington’s plans were "yet another step toward implementing the infamous Menendez-Rubio law." AKEL referred to the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act, which had been authored by US Senators Robert Menendez and Marco Rubio and which provides for the lifting of the US arms embargo on Cyprus. The act was signed into law in December 2019 after the US House Foreign Affairs Committee had added amendments required for lifting the embargo. They say that Nicosia should cooperate with Washington in efforts against money laundering and should deny Russian military ships access to Cypriot ports.