U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today introduced the End the Cyprus Embargo Act, legislation to repeal the U.S. arms embargo on Cyprus. United States policy since 1987 has been to deny licenses on transfer of articles on the United States Munitions List to the Republic of Cyprus.
“Cyprus has proven itself a reliable ally and strategic partner to the United States, including in counterterrorism and nonproliferation efforts”, said Senator Menendez. “With Cyprus seeking to deepen its strategic partnership with the United States, it is in our national security and economic interest to lift this outdated decades-long arms embargo that is no longer helping U.S. security objectives in the Mediterranean. As we continue to see, this legislation sends an important message that the United States supports Cyprus’ right to fully realize its potential as a stable and dependable democracy and key contributor to the security architecture in the eastern Mediterranean.”
Mandated by a Menendez amendment in the FY16 NDAA, a joint report by the Department of Defense and State Department in June 2016 noted that, while the Cyprus arms embargo has had “little impact” on U.S. security objectives in the region, it has “in some part” contributed to Cyprus’ building of defense sector ties with Russia – a relationship that has become all the more concerning in light of the Kremlin’s increasing aggression around the world.
“As someone who has always worked with the Greek and Greek-Cypriot community, I continue to remain hopeful that, one day, a durable resolution can be found that produces a real and lasting peace,” Menendez concluded.
U.S. Representatives David Cicilline (D-RI1) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
A copy of the End the Cyprus Embargo Act can be found HERE.