World NewsUS lifts Cyprus arms embargo, Turkey claims decision will lead to 'arms...

US lifts Cyprus arms embargo, Turkey claims decision will lead to ‘arms race’ in Mediterranean

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America will raise a long-standing arms embargo on Cyprus in a transfer that has angered NATO ally Turkey. 

“Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken decided and licensed to Congress that the Republic of Cyprus has met the required circumstances beneath related laws to permit the approval of exports, re-exports, and transfers of protection articles for fiscal yr 2023,” State Division spokesman Ned Worth mentioned on Friday.

The U.S. embargo on Cyprus remained in place since 1987 because the island remained divided following a Turkish invasion that established a breakaway state. The embargo had compelled Cyprus to more and more flip to Russia for weaponry because it couldn’t purchase even defensive weaponry, equivalent to night time imaginative and prescient goggles, in the event that they contained any American parts. 

With a purpose to get the embargo lifted, Cyprus needed to set up a number of monetary regulatory oversight reforms, equivalent to denying Russian navy vessels entry to ports, and at last met circumstances that the U.S. felt have been adequate to show it a dependable buying and selling accomplice. 

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Endy Zemenides, government director of the Hellenic American Management Council (HALC), famous that Cyprus had made the Group for Financial Cooperation and Improvement (OECD) white record, which means that Cyprus has fulfilled commitments to transparency and exchanges of knowledge for tax functions. 

Cypriot Navy particular forces and US Navy SEALS participate in a joint US-Cyprus rescue train within the port of the southern Cypriot port metropolis of Limassol on September 10, 2021. 
(Photograph by IAKOVOS HATZISTAVROU/AFP by way of Getty Photographs)

“This represents the final vestige of … Russification or rising Russian affect in Cyprus about ten years in the past when Cyprus went by means of its banking disaster,” Zemenides defined to Fox Information Digital. “Individuals have been saying, ‘hey, Russians are hiding cash or laundering cash in Cyprus,’ [and] Cyprus bought very aggressive on cash laundering, bought very aggressive on banking transparency.”

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The U.S. had partially lifted the embargo in 2020 and allowed for Cyprus to purchase non-lethal navy items, indicating that Cyprus was not far off from a complete embargo raise. 

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades hailed the U.S. resolution as a “landmark” announcement that brings him “nice satisfaction.” 

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer walk during a welcome ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, Cyprus July 13, 2022. 

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer stroll throughout a welcome ceremony on the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, Cyprus July 13, 2022. 
(Reuters/Yiannis Kourtoglou)

“This can be a landmark resolution, reflecting the burgeoning strategic relationship between the 2 nations, together with within the space of safety,” Anastasiades wrote on Twitter, happening to thank Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who labored with the nation to verify it met the requirements as dictated by the East Mediterranean Safety and Vitality Partnership Act of 2019.

However Turkey’s overseas ministry urged the U.S. to rethink its resolution, claiming that the shortage of an embargo will result in “an arms race” on the island that can hurt peace and stability within the jap Mediterranean. 

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The ministry mentioned the choice would “additional strengthen the Greek Cypriot aspect’s intransigence and negatively have an effect on efforts to resettle the Cyprus concern.” 

Zemenides argued that any resolution the U.S. takes at this level will solely anger Turkey, however the U.S. now views the east Mediterranean area as strategically essential. 

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a news conference, in Ankara, Turkey, on May 14. 

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks throughout a information convention, in Ankara, Turkey, on Might 14. 
(AP Photograph/Burhan Ozbilici)

“The jap Mediterranean has turn out to be a key area for the USA: It is a key battleground each within the battle towards Russia and has been since a crimson line was by no means enforced in Syria,” Zemenides mentioned. “[Russia] has elevated its naval presence tenfold within the Mediterranean. Its base in Syria is ten instances bigger, actually since 2014, and in the event you take a look at Cyprus, Cyprus is a everlasting plane provider.”

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“America safety relationship with Cyprus due to this arms embargo was simply not serving U.S. nationwide safety pursuits in a area the place Russia is selecting up, the place China has prolonged its belt and street initiative,” he added. “Have a look at the shores proper throughout from Cyprus: You might have Hamas on these shores, you’ve got Hezbollah on these shores, you’ve got Islamic Jihad on our shores, and to not be capable to have Cyprus as an asset due to this arms embargo was ridiculous.” 

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