The USA decided to waive the restrictions and allow the export of non-lethal defense articles and services to the Republic of Cyprus. The decision taken by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – announced on Monday – is pursuant to the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019, a law that provides a comprehensive recalibration of American diplomatic, military, and economic policy towards the Eastern Mediterranean.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo informed the Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades of Washington’s decision, in a phone call on Tuesday, September 1st.
“The US looks to the Republic of Cyprus as being an important partner”, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Matthew A. Palmer, He said that it is in the in the interests of the national security of the US to temporary wave the restriction to the direct commercial sale of non-lethal defense articles and services to the Republic of Cyprus for the fiscal year 2020 – 2021.”
Palmer added that this decision on the waver “is potentially renewable but no decision has been made at this point” on future years.
He underscored that “the US looks to the Republic of Cyprus as being an important partner and makes an important contribution to region peace and security in the Eastern Mediterranean.”
“This is a relationship that we are working to develop and grow,” Palmer added.
The US Official however made clear that “this decision does not in any way reflect a change in the US position on a Cyprus settlement.”
“We continue to support a comprehensive settlement to reunify the island in a bi-zonal bi-communal federation which would benefit all the Cypriots as well as the wider region,” he said.
On his part, Mike Miller, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Defense Trade in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs said that “any decisions on capabilities that we will provide to Cyprus will be made on a case by case basis as is the case for all the requests”.
In a read-out on the conversation between the Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and the President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades, the State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said that they . “discussed the deepening U.S.-ROC bilateral security relationship. Secretary Pompeo informed President Anastasiades of his decision to waive restrictions temporarily for FY 2021 on the export, re-export, retransfer, and temporary import of non-lethal defense articles and defense services controlled under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation destined for or originating in Cyprus. The Secretary reaffirmed U.S. support for a comprehensive settlement to reunify the island as a bizonal, bicommunal federation, which would benefit all Cypriots as well as the wider region.”
Friends of Cyprus in the U.S. Congress, along with Greek American and Jewish American organizations applauded the decision. See here