Cyprus: US to Lift Cyprus Arms Embargo in Security Boost

FILE - In this Thursday, March 1, 2018 file photo, Nikos Christodoulides speaks after taking the oath of office as Cyprus' new foreign minister during a ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, Cyprus. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias, file)

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — The U.S. will soon start lifting a decades-old arms embargo on Cyprus because Washington acknowledges the Mediterranean island nation’s contribution to bolstering regional stability and security, the Cypriot foreign minister said Friday.

Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said that Washington sees the “added value” of allowing Cyprus to acquire military equipment that would help enhance its capabilities to boost regional security.

The embargo was imposed in 1987 with the aim of preventing an arms buildup that would hamper diplomatic efforts to reunify divided Cyprus. The island was split along ethnic lines in 1974 when Turkey invaded in the wake of a coup aimed at union with Greece.

Christodoulides said the process to lift the embargo has been set in motion in the U.S. Congress, reflecting a “positive shift” in that Washington no longer views Cyprus solely as an unsettled conflict of ethnic division.

“This is proof, if you like, of the recognition by the U.S. administration of the positive role that Cyprus plays as a pillar of stability and security in the broader region,” Christodoulides told The Associated Press.

Heightened U.S. interest in the gas-rich east Mediterranean has apparently irked Russia.

The Russian foreign ministry last month warned against what it called “anti-Russian plans” of a U.S. military buildup in Cyprus in order to counter Russia’s growing influence in the region.

Christodoulides said that doesn’t reflect reality on the ground. He has conveyed to his Russian counterpart that stronger ties with Washington shouldn’t be interpreted as “prejudicial” to Cyprus’ relations with any other country. He said Cyprus’ foreign policy doesn’t engage in a “zero-sum game.”

Cyprus regularly offers its facilities to countries — including the U.S. — that have asked to carry out humanitarian missions, he said.

He said the U.S. and some European Union countries are keen to join energy-based partnerships that Cyprus and Greece have established with neighboring countries — including Egypt, Jordan and Israel — that are expanding to include Lebanon and the Palestinians.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that there are 122 trillion cubic feet of gas in the east Mediterranean, with just over a quarter of that amount discovered in waters of Egypt, Israel and Cyprus. Offshore exploratory drilling continues along with talks on how to deliver that gas to European markets and beyond, either through onshore gas processing facilities or via pipelines.

“I am personally convinced that hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean can become what the coal and steel was for the European Community,” Christodoulides said.

Christodoulides said Cyprus is ready to negotiate its sea borders with neighboring Turkey, which has repeatedly warned that it won’t allow the country to infringe on its rights and those of breakaway Turkish Cypriots to the region’s gas reserves.

Christodoulides dismissed Turkey’s claims as “totally unfounded,” adding that Washington and the EU fully support the Cyprus government’s rights to search for gas inside its exclusive economic zone.

“I sincerely believe that it is only through dialogue and negotiations, and not through gunboat diplomacy, that peace and stability can be achieved in our volatile region,” he said.

By MENELAOS HADJICOSTIS , Associated Press

4 Comments

  1. After 40 years ….the boys in Washington will lift an embargo of sales of weapons to Cyprus…really!

    And because ….the weapons are now allowed ….to maintain the regional stability of the Mediterranean .on behalf of who …the United States and Nato…who already have the British bases in Cyprus …and have launched Nato wars from Cyprus !

    So …now the largest floating aircraft carrier in the world …Cyprus …which is manned by the British and Turks…will now be manned by the United States officially…..not to defend the security of Cyprus for its people …but …if I understand this …to be partners in enforcing the peace and security of the entire region of the Mediterranean…and pick up the responsibility of the United States …as a police deputy..with U.S. arms!

    Really…or maybe …U. S needs to make some money….for the war economy…and leaving Syria .is going to hurt their production line of war and the stock holders of Lockheed Martin Inc!

    While …TNH….will splatter her newspaper ..with the heroic efforts of the Greek Secret Hellenic societies members ..in getting this embargo lifted…it is simply for money ….and reflects the unreliability of Nato Turkey ,,,,in continuing to serve the masters of Washington …and moving closer to Iran and Russia!

    In any case…. it is clear …Cyprus is up for grabs…. with her oil and gas possibilities …which is the only reason …there is any interest by all these countries …looking to get a piece of the action!.

    It should be interesting to see how Nato Turkey responds ….to this act of betrayal to Turkey..who was the beneficiary for all these years ….of the protection of the U.S …in keeping the Greek Cypriots from having the ability to respond to any threats from Turkey and Northern Cyprus!

    Additionally… if Russia does not get a chance to compete for these weapon sales ..then you know, that Cyprus is an undeclared member of Nato …and has been told …they must buy only American weapons!

    However…what is really sad …is their narrative …That Cyprus ..under there current state….is going to be a contributor to Regional Security …and not because of their own needs for securing the safety and peace of the people of Cyprus!

    Only Anglo White Supremacist …have such little regard or respect for the people of America and the world ..and consider everyone inferior and stupid ..unable to comprehend their lies!

  2. On the face of it, this news might be seen as good news for Cyprus, as it could raise hopes that the US will do more in its eastern Mediterranean policy than just court the Turks. Upon closer thought, however, we must realize that these matters can turn on a dime; Cyprus and Greece need to try to keep good relations with all. It was good that Christodoulidides of Cyprus communicated that message to Russia.

  3. “US to Lift Cyprus Arms Embargo in Security Boost”
    Oh Really!
    How about supplying them with free arms as reparations for Kissinger’s blunder.

    1. Both John and Eleos …make good points….and expose the distrust Greek Americans have with this group in Washington! And that says..it all !

      To me Eleos….”US to lift Cyprus Arms Embargo in Security Boost” is an insult to the Greek Cypriots of Cyprus…since….it blatantly and arrogantly reveals ..what is obvious…that the United States and Nato Members …Britain and Turkey …are occupiers of Cyprus….and have been in control of the Cypriot government….who should have been demanding for years the sale of arms to Cyprus for their self defense . …that are consistently , provided to the likes of Saudi Arabia…state sponsors of Terrorism, and the war crimes murder of innocent civilians in Yemen!

      Importantly, what this reveal …publcally…is that the arms for Cyprus …an alleged independent country of world , not affiliated with Nato …and being occupied by non EU countries …are conditional …to represent the interest of who …in the Mediteranean ..considering the only threat to Cyprus is Turkey!

      What is going on here ..is that the Russian narratives designed to make the enemies of the Anglo White Supremacist racist of the government of our country …the enemies of Europe and the world…has determined that Cyprus represents a threat to their plans to prevent any relationship with Russia ..by any country …by now attempting to prevent arms sales from Russia to Cyprus!

      How pathetic…to suggest that the government of Cyprus . an undeclared member of Nato…will be purchasing weapons from America …to improve …what Nato illegally does everyday of the Year …their self appointed control of the waterways and lands of the Region….and not simply …the obvious ..weapons to defend their country!.

      Throw Nato out ….and the British Anglo White supremacist from their bases in Cyprus ….and stop this stooge Cypriot government …who is only in power ..with the protection of these tyrants.

      Begin a referendum …to be voted by the people of Cyprus …and not the transplanted British subjects…for joining Greece …and under the exclusive protection of Greece!

      Anything less is a joke ..with no hope of any real freedom and control of their lives ..with the sharks fo Nato …circling everyday!..

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