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US renews lifting of arms embargo on Cyprus

US Army soldiers, alongside Cypriot troops, fire a rocket-propelled grenade launcher during a bilateral training exercise in Cyprus in February 2023. (US Army photo by Army Staff Sergeant John Yountz)

The US government has decided to continue lifting defence trade restrictions on the Republic of Cyprus for a second year, the US Department of State announced on 18 August.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken certified to Congress that Cyprus “has met the necessary conditions under applicable legislation to allow the department to approve exports, re-exports, and transfers of defence articles” to Cyprus for fiscal year (FY) 2024, department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement. The US State Department made a similar determination for FY 2023.

The Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019 and the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act permit US defence exports to Cyprus if the country co-operates with the US government to reform its anti-money laundering regulations and financial regulatory oversight, and denies Russian military vessels access to ports for refuelling and servicing. Cyprus's compliance with those conditions must be assessed annually.

The Cyprus Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the US State Department announcement, saying in a statement that the Cypriot government “is committed to deepening its strategic co-operation with the United States, based on the principles of international law, and on the need to build conditions of security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean”. US Senator Robert Menendez, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also lauded the certification, saying it “bolsters the national security of a key democratic partner in the region”.

With the arms embargo lifted for another year, Cyprus is looking to buy military rifles from the US, Janes

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