Wes Mitchell, the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in the US, has announced that the country is working with Cyprus to strengthen energy and security relations between the two countries. The announcement, which was made to Congress’ Foreign Affairs Committee, also professed Washington’s plan of constructing a long-term strategy which would enhance their presence in the Eastern Mediterranean region.

Assistant Secretary Mitchell went on to add how the US government is planning to make Greece an anchor of stability in the West Balkan and East Mediterranean regions and are working to improve their level of cooperation with Cyprus to achieve their goal. He also added that they are bidding to improve their relationship with Turkey and are trying to first Mitchell deal with the Ankara situation. They intend to secure the release of unjustly detained US citizens and local embassy staff in Ankara, curb the purchase of the Russian S-400 system, and develop partnerships that will help stabilize the situation northern Syria and keep ISIL from returning.

As part of the ongoing efforts for cooperation, American gas and oil magnate ExxonMobil has partnered with Qatar Petroleum (QP) to acquire an exploration concession for block 10 in Cyprus’ EEZ during the third licensing round in April 2017. The drilling for the same is set to commence in the fourth quarter of 2018.