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Associations

AHI Applauds U.S. Lifting of Cyprus Arms Prohibition

September 20, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC – The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) issued the following statement by AHI President Nick Larigakis on September 19 following the announcement that the U.S. lifted the arms prohibition on Cyprus:

“AHI applauds the U.S. State Department’s announcement of Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s decision to ‘allow the approval of exports, re-exports, and transfers of defense articles to the Republic of Cyprus for fiscal year 2023.’ The Administration’s decision is based upon Cyprus’ compliance under the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019 and the National Defense Authorization Act of FY2020 (Acts) that will be reviewed annually.

“The Administration’s decision demonstrates the evolving geostrategic importance the United States places on the Republic of Cyprus and strengthens U.S.-Republic of Cyprus relations. The Republic of Cyprus is a valued strategic partner of the United States that promotes regional stability and U.S. security interests.

“AHI has long advocated for the removal of the Republic of Cyprus from the list of countries to which arms sales are prohibited under the International Trade in Arms Regulations (ITAR); a list that includes North Korea, Iran, Libya, and Somalia; and furthermore had urged Administrations to waive the limitations placed upon the Republic of Cyprus by these Acts based upon the fact there never has been a legal basis for Cyprus to be on ITAR.

“We strongly contend the lifting of the arms prohibition must be made permanent. The Administration’s decision is for one year, and we will need to ensure it is renewed. AHI will continue to work with the State Department and allies on Capitol Hill to ensure this is the case especially because the United States values Cyprus as a strategic partner.”

“In addition to AHI’s efforts to end the United States’ arms prohibition on Cyprus, we acknowledge the contributions of all the Greek American and Cypriot American groups that played an important part in this victory. Moreover, we applaud the advocates of Cyprus in Congress in both chambers, and from both sides of the aisle, whom were instrumental in forcing a change in established State Department policy, as well as the Cyprus government, which prioritized the repeal of the Cyprus arms prohibition.”

Background

AHI’s annual Policy Statements called for a full and permanent lifting of the United States’ arms prohibition on Cyprus and removal of Cyprus from the ITAR list.

Additionally, AHI published a White Paper and Issue Brief, wrote to then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and published an op-ed published, has issued statements, met with State Department officials and members of Congress and their staffs, to advocate for the removal of the Republic of Cyprus from the list of countries to which arms sales are prohibited under ITAR.

The American Hellenic Institute is a non-profit Greek-American public policy center and think tank that works to strengthen relations between the United States and Greece and Cyprus, and within the Greek-American community.

More information is available online: http://www.ahiworld.org.

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