The US has lifted an embargo which banned the export of weapons to the Republic of Cyprus.
The ban which has been operating for decades is now considered an anachronism by several members of the US Senate who tabled the amendments in the House of Representatives.
Congressmen Gus Bilirakis, David Cicilline and Senator Robert Menendez say that the ban did not reflect the current relationship between (South) Cyprus and the US, which are strategic partners and allies.
The embargo “fails to reflect the relationship Cyprus and the United States have today as allies and strategic partners in the global war on terror,” Cicilline said in a statement.
US President Barack Obama has signed the country’s National Defence Authorisation Act, which includes an amendment permitting the sale of US-made defensive weapons to Cyprus.
Citing unnamed sources, the Cyprus News Agency said following the joint maritime search and rescue exercises between the USA and Cyprus, the US offered to strengthen South Cyprus’ port police with offshore vessels.
The Hellenic American Leadership Council Executive Director Endy Zemenides welcomed the inclusion of the Cyprus amendment, noting that “this is an important step in the growing strategic partnership between Cyprus and the United States.”
“The re-evaluation of the arms embargo required by this act will hopefully rectify the absurd status quo in which Turkey is allowed to occupy Cyprus with American arms but Cyprus has to look elsewhere to buy defensive weapons. Resolving this will allow Cyprus to step up even further as a front line state in the Western security infrastructure,” he concluded.