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25 June, 2024
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USA: Bipartisan bill aims to end US arms embargo on Cyprus

Greek American lawmakers push for legislation to extend waiver renewal period and foster closer US-Cypriot relations

Newsroom / CNA

In a bipartisan effort, four Greek American members of the House of Representatives introduced a bill on Wednesday aimed at lifting the US arms embargo on Cyprus and abolishing the annual renewal requirement.

The bill, titled "End the Cyprus Embargo," was brought forth by Representatives Chris Pappas, Gus Bilirakis, Nicole Malliotakis, and Dina Titus. The lawmakers, co-chairs and vice co-chairs of the Hellenic Caucus, emphasized the need to bolster US-Cypriot relations and enhance regional security in the Eastern Mediterranean.

If passed, the legislation would extend the waiver renewal period for the arms embargo on the Republic of Cyprus from one year to five years. This change aims to provide Cyprus with more stability in planning and procuring US defense articles effectively while strengthening military interoperability and joint research efforts.

The move comes ahead of the 50th anniversary of Turkey’s illegal invasion and occupation of Northern Cyprus, highlighting the geopolitical significance of the region.

Over the past two decades, US-Cyprus relations have seen significant growth, with Cyprus emerging as a crucial ally for US interests and regional stability. The Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019 paved the way for annual waivers of the arms embargo.

However, the requirement for annual renewal has posed challenges for Cyprus in long-term planning and procurement of defense items, hindering military cooperation and joint security initiatives. The End the Cyprus Embargo Act seeks to address these obstacles and foster closer ties between the US and Cyprus.

In a statement, Congressman Pappas underscored the importance of recognizing Cyprus as a strategic partner in the Eastern Mediterranean and promoting bilateral cooperation on security and defense.

The bill has garnered support from various organizations, including the American Hellenic Institute (AHI), the American Jewish Committee (AJC), and the International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA). These groups have praised the legislation for its efforts to strengthen US-Cypriot relations and advance regional stability.

The End the Cyprus Embargo Act is poised to solidify US-Cypriot ties, enhance regional security, and promote long-term cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Cyprus  |  USA  |  embargo

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