Friends of Cyprus in the US have welcomed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s decision to waive restrictions and allow the export of non-lethal defence articles and services to the Republic of Cyprus.
Among those welcoming Tuesday’s milestone decision are Senator Robert Menendez and congressmen from opposite camps David Cicilline and Gus Bilirakis.
Also, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC). As well as AHEPA – the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association.
In a statement, Menendez who authored and introduced EastMed Act in the U.S. Senate said he was “delighted to see recognition of the importance of our relationship with Cyprus, a reliable strategic partner for our nation. It is in our national security interest to lift these outdated decades-long arms restrictions and deepen our security relationship with the Republic of Cyprus.”
He added: “I welcome this signal of our commitment towards a mutually beneficial partnership with Cyprus, and look forward to the continued implementation of the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act, the foundation of a sustained and durable U.S. policy to this important region of the world.”
Democratic congressman Cicilline, from Rhode Island, in a message posted on his Twitter account said “I started the effort to lift the arms embargo on Cyprus four years ago because it wasn’t in our interests. Today, the State Department finally lifted it, making America and the eastern Mediterranean more secure.”
Republican congressman from Florida Bilirakis said in a post on Twitter: “American values and national interests are advanced through a stronger bilateral relationship with #Cyprus. Today, I am thrilled that @SecPompeo exercised the provisions of the #EastMedAct – which I coauthored – to lift the arms embargo on Cyprus and allow non-lethal aid.”
AHEPA’s statement said:
“We commend the Trump administration for recognizing it is in the best interest of the United States to take this action that further enhances relations between the United States and the Republic of Cyprus.”
It added: “The United States recognizes the Republic of Cyprus as a strategic partner, especially in combating terrorism and providing regional stability, and this partial lifting of the prohibition of arms is the next logical step in the relationship’s progression that began with 2018’s Statement of Intent agreement.”
As for the statement of AJC and HALC, it said: “Secretary Pompeo’s action is a milestone in the U.S.-Cyprus bilateral relationship, one that will have a positive effect on the increasingly integrated Eastern Mediterranean.”
It added: “Given Cyprus’ strategic location and key diplomatic ties in the region, the U.S. needed to have a substantive security relationship with Nicosia. Today’s move, coupled with the inclusion of Cyprus in the International Military Education and Training Program, reinforces a critical relationship with a sister democracy in a strategically vital region,” he added.