Cyprus collaborates closely in counter-terrorism efforts, US State Department says

Cyprus collaborates closely in counter-terrorism efforts, US State Department says

The Government of the Republic of Cyprus collaborated closely with the United States, the EU, and other countries – bilaterally and multilaterally – in international counter-terrorism efforts in 2014, a US State Department report notes.

The report says that Cyprus’ counter-terrorism partnership with the United States included regular, routine protection for transiting U.S. military personnel, aircraft, and naval vessels throughout 2014; and participation in the Department of State’s Anti-terrorism Assistance and Regional Strategic Initiative programs, which strengthened the government’s capacity to counter terrorism.

Furthermore, the report notes that Cyprus is since 1974 divided and that the US does not recognize the declaration of the `state` in the Turkish occupied areas, nor does any country other than Turkey.

As regards Turkish Cypriots, it said that they “lacked the legal and institutional framework necessary to counter money laundering and the financing of terrorism effectively. Within these limitations, however, Turkish Cypriots cooperated in pursuing specific counter-terrorism objectives”.

Referring to the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), it notes that Cyprus is a member of the coalition and that in October, the government approved French civil aviation authorities’ request to access Paphos airbase to support humanitarian operations in Iraq.

“The government began an inter-agency review of its legal framework for addressing foreign terrorist fighters, including a review of its 2010 counter-terrorism law to begin to implement UN Security Council Resolution 2178. Cyprus police have conducted a seminar on the foreign terrorist fighters issue. In September 2014, the police investigated five people for possible facilitation of travel to conflict areas abroad, but nothing suspicious was revealed”, the report says.

It also notes that in 2014, the Council of Ministers approved a new National Counter-terrorism Strategy for the Republic of Cyprus, based on the four pillars of the corresponding EU strategy: “Prevent, Pursue, Protect, and Respond.”

On countering the Financing of Terrorism, it says that Cyprus is a member of the Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (MONEYVAL), a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body and that Cyprus’ financial intelligence unit (FIU), the Unit for Combating Money Laundering (MOKAS), is a member of the Egmont Group.

In addition to hosting and participating in OSCE counter-terrorism programs, Cyprus participated in counter-terrorism initiatives of the UN and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, the report says.