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CYPRUS UPDATE: New York, September 18, 2002
2002-09-19 06:29:44

Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Treaty Between the Republic of Cyprus and the United States Enters into Force

In a milestone in the fight against global terrorism, organized crime, drug-trafficking and related violent crimes, the Government of the Republic of Cyprus today exchanged instruments of ratification with the Government of the United States bringing into force the reciprocal law enforcement treaty between the two countries.

The U.S.-Cyprus Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty became effective today upon the execution in New York of the protocol of Exchange of Instruments of Ratification by the Republic of Cyprus Minister of Foreign Affairs Ioannis Kasoulides and Marc Grossman, U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs. This Treaty will promote closer coordination between the two countries to transfer persons in custody, execute searches and seizures, share documents, records and intelligence materials, identify persons or items of interest to authorities and to take other measures designed to assist in the prosecution of a wide range of criminal offenses.

Minister Kasoulides of Cyprus stated: This Treaty is an effective tool enabling us to join forces with the United States in a cooperative effort to combat and to deter illegal criminal activity. The Government of Cyprus looks forward to working closely as partners with the U.S. law enforcement community in the common cause of striking at criminal elements who would defy our laws."

Cyprus' geographic location at the crossroads of Europe, the Middle East and Africa makes it an invaluable ally to the United States in stemming the rising tide of international terrorism and crime. The treaty is the latest in a series of bilateral agreements between the two countries. In 1999, a benchmark Extradition Treaty entered into force. In July of 2002, the U.S. and Cyprus entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to halt the illegal trafficking of antiquities and historical artifacts from Cyprus.

This far-reaching accord takes effect immediately upon the exchange of the Treaty instruments. One important legal feature in the agreement allows either country far more flexibility to prosecute criminal conduct that occurred before the Treaty was entered into force. It also enhances legal proceedings related to the immobilization and forfeiture of assets, restitution and the collection of fines.

Fore more information, contact the Embassy of Cyprus Press Office at (202) 232-8993.

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