Geopolitics in the Eastern Mediterranean: A Cypriot Perspective
In recent months, the Republic of Cyprus has been at the center of a number of critical geopolitical developments—holding a largely successful presidency of the European Union (EU), announcing the discovery of large offshore natural gas deposits, and undergoing an economic crisis that led to a bank bailout and raised new uncertainties about the future of the eurozone. The Cypriot government has also announced recently that talks with Turkey could be re-launched in the fall in a new attempt to resolve the political standoff that has divided the country for a generation.
On May 9, the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings (CUSE) and the Energy Security Initiative (ESI) hosted the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus Ioannis Kasoulides for a public address. In his remarks, the foreign minister offered his perspectives on a range of issues that are shaping Cyprus’s role in Europe and across the rapidly evolving Eastern Mediterranean region.
Minister Kasoulides previously served as the Cypriot government spokesman from 1993 to 1997. He was first appointed minister of foreign affairs in 1997 and served in that capacity until 2003. During his initial term as foreign minister he led the diplomatic effort that marked the initiation and completion of Cypriot accession negotiations to the EU. From 2004 to 2013 Kasoulides was a member of the European Parliament, where he served as the vice president of the EPP group and head of its foreign affairs working group. He was appointed to a second term as foreign minister in 2013.
Vice President Martin Indyk, director of Foreign Policy at Brookings, offered introductory remarks.