US renews lifting of arms embargo against Cyprus

The US Secretary of State has lifted the Defense Trade Restrictions on the Republic of Cyprus for the fiscal year 2024.

According to a press statement of the US State Department on Friday, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken certified to Congress that the Republic of Cyprus has met the necessary conditions under applicable legislation to allow the Department to approve exports, re-exports, and transfers of defence articles to the Republic of Cyprus for the fiscal year 2024.

It adds that compliance with the conditions is assessed on an annual basis.

“As a result of this determination and certification, the Secretary lifted the defense trade restrictions for the Republic of Cyprus for fiscal year 2024. The International Traffic in Arms Regulations will be amended to reflect the new policy, effective October 1, 2023. This determination does not represent a change; rather, it is re-certification of the FY 2023 determination” it says.

The press release notes that the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019 and the National Defense Authorization Act for the fiscal year 2020 require that the policy of denial for exports, re-exports, or transfers of defence articles on the United States Munitions List to the Republic of Cyprus remain in place unless the President determines and certifies to the appropriate congressional committees not less than annually that— A) the Government of the Republic of Cyprus is continuing to cooperate with the United States Government in efforts to implement reforms on anti-money laundering regulations and financial regulatory oversight, and B) the Government of the Republic of Cyprus has made and is continuing to take the steps necessary to deny Russian military vessels access to ports for refuelling and servicing.

On its part, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has welcomed the decision of the US Department of State to extend the lifting of the arms embargo on Cyprus.

In a press release on Friday, the Foreign Ministry said that the Republic of Cyprus welcomes the reaffirmation of this decision and its extension for the fiscal year 2024, which is based on the legislation “Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act” enacted by the American Congress in 2019.

It adds that the decision of the American government demonstrates the continued upgrade of the Cyprus-US bilateral relations in the field of security and defence.

“Our goal remains the deepening of this strategic cooperation which is built on the basis of international law and the need to build conditions of security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean region,” the Foreign Ministry noted.

The arms embargo against Cyprus was imposed in 1987 by the US and lifted in 2022.