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Cyprus welcomes US decision to fully lift arms embargo

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus on Saturday hailed the full lifting of the U.S. arms embargo against the ethnically divided island nation as an important step reaffirming increasingly close bilateral ties that serve to bolster stability in the region. turbulent eastern Mediterranean.

President Nicos Anastasiades tweeted his gratitude to the chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez, for helping lift the embargo.

Turkey, which maintains more than 35,000 troops…

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NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus on Saturday hailed the full lifting of the U.S. arms embargo against the ethnically divided island nation as an important step reaffirming increasingly close bilateral ties that serve to bolster stability in the region. turbulent eastern Mediterranean.

President Nicos Anastasiades tweeted his gratitude to the chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez, for helping lift the embargo.

Turkey, which maintains more than 35,000 troops in the northern third of Cyprus, condemned the move. The Turkish Foreign Ministry urged the United States to reconsider, warning that the move would harm efforts for a peace deal in Cyprus, lead to an arms race on the island and undermine regional stability.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement that Secretary of State Antony Blinken had determined that Cyprus met the conditions to allow “exports, re-exports and transfers of defense articles … for the financial year 2023”.

The United States will assess annually whether Cyprus is complying with the conditions for lifting the embargo, including implementing anti-money laundering regulations and denying Russian military vessels access to ports for resupply. fuel and maintenance.

Cyprus banned Russian warships from using its ports in early March after invading Ukraine.

The terms are enshrined in the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act that the US Congress passed in 2019. The law underscores US support for closer ties between Greece, Cyprus and Israel. based on recently discovered offshore gas fields.

The United States declared the embargo in 1987 to prevent a possible arms race from damaging peace talks with the breakaway Turkish Cypriots in the Mediterranean island nation. Cyprus was divided in 1974 when Turkey invaded following a coup aimed at union with Greece.

Barring access to US weapons, Cyprus has turned to Russia for Mi-35 attack helicopters, T-80 tanks and Tor-M1 anti-aircraft missile systems.

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