Cyprus’s president on Saturday hailed the “historic” decision by the United States to completely lift the arms embargo that has plagued the decades-divided Mediterranean island, provided Nicosia continues to block Russian warships from entering its ports. Keep it
Washington imposed an arms embargo on the whole of Cyprus in 1987, in the hopes of encouraging the reunification of the island divided since the invasion of the north by Turkish forces in 1974, in reaction to the Cypriot-Greek nationalists’ state coup. Wanted to connect the island with Greece.
The United States was thus expected to stop the arms race and encourage a peaceful solution between the Greek majority and the Turkish minority.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday lifted the defense trade embargo on EU member Cyprus, State Department spokesman Ned Price said.
Cyprus President Nikos Anastasiades reacted on his Twitter account on Saturday, saying, “This is a historic decision, which reflects the growing strategic ties between the two countries in the field of security.”
Some critics say the US sanctions have been counterproductive as it has forced Cyprus to seek other partners, while NATO member Turkey is controlled by the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC, recognized only by Ankara). Keeps troops in the north.
US officials were concerned that the embargo would bring Cyprus closer to Russia, as Nicosia signed a deal with Moscow in 2015 allowing the Russian navy to access its ports.
In December 2019, the US Congress voted to lift the arms embargo to allow the export of “non-lethal” military equipment.
With this ban completely removed, Cyprus must “continue its cooperation” with Washington, in particular “continuing to take the necessary measures to deny Russian military ships access to ports for refueling and maintenance.” ” Said Ms. value.
The European Union has closed European ports to Russian ships as part of sanctions against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.