US lawmaker: East Med cooperation to counter Russia

Offshore hydrocarbon discoveries have enabled Cyprus and Israel to forge closer ties in recent years


The U.S. wants to work with Cyprus and ally Israel to buttress peace in the eastern Mediterranean and to head off Russian influence over the region’s energy reserves, a senior U.S. lawmaker said Monday.

Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the U.S. is looking for friendly nations in the region that share core democratic values in light of what he calls Russia’s “malevolent machinations.”

“I’m excited about the prospect of our ally Israel working with Cyprus I think we have an opportunity for peace and cooperation as never before,” Engel said after talks with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.

“The energy rights that (Cyprus) has are exciting. It’s a new threshold, I think that Mr. Putin and Russia can’t and should not be able to control the situation.”

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