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Cyprus and the United States join forces to combat proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
2005-04-11 12:20:05

Cyprus, with world’s sixth largest commercial fleet, joins in anti-terrorism PSI pact

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April, 2005) – The Republic of Cyprus and the United States of America have concluded a bilateral agreement within the framework of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) that establishes “procedure and safeguards for ship boarding operations on the high seas aimed at combating the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.”

Cyprus, which has the sixth largest commercial fleet in the world, is the first EU member-country to have concluded such an agreement.

“This is a key agreement in which Cyprus is showing its strong support for U.S.-led non-proliferation and anti-terrorism measures,” said Cyprus’ Ambassador to the United States Euripides L. Evriviades. “It is an important measure to help fight the possibility of Weapons of Mass Destruction falling into the hands of terrorists, and we are pleased to join forces with the United States,” he added.

A key feature of the PSI is making the high seas inhospitable to the transport of WMD.

The U.S. Embassy in Nicosia hailed the agreement reached by the U.S. and Cyprus delegations as “an excellent example of a common approach by the two governments resulting in concrete achievement,” adding that the agreement was an example of “close cooperation between our two governments in the war on terrorism” and expressing confidence “that there will be other areas of cooperation as well.”

In a news release, the U.S. Embassy also noted: “This agreement underscores the shared commitment of our two governments to combating proliferation and global terrorism. We have a common approach to a common goal: making the high seas inhospitable to the transport of weapons of mass destruction. We are very pleased with both the outcome of the discussions and the positive and constructive spirit in which they were conducted.”

The Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) is a response to the growing challenge posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), their delivery systems, and related materials worldwide. The PSI builds on efforts by the international community to prevent proliferation of such items, including existing treaties and regimes. It is consistent with and a step in the implementation of the UN Security Council Presidential Statement of January 1992, which states that the proliferation of all WMD constitutes a threat to international peace and security, and underlines the need for member states of the UN to prevent proliferation.

Today’s announcement was followed by last week’s announcement of a U.S.-Cyprus joint agreement designed to fight money laundering and deny access to financial systems to those who fund terrorism.

The PSI and anti-money laundering agreements were build on previous steps taken by the Republic of Cyprus, which in 2001 ratified the UN International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.

Cyprus has ratified all 12 UN Conventions relating to the fight against International Terrorism and is among the original signatories of the UN Convention against Corruption.

Cyprus was also the first EU Member to have ratified the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and all its additional protocols, and also provided important cooperation with the U.S. military efforts in Iraq by approving military over-flights and landing rights for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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