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US expected to lift arms embargo on Cyprus by Thursday

US President Donald Trump

The US Congress is expected to approve by Thursday a bill lifting an arms embargo on Cyprus, which has been in place since 1987.

The embargo will be lifted once Congress passes the National Defense Authorization Act for 2020.

Although both Congress chambers have passed two separate bills since the end of last July, it was not possible to agree on a single document due differences between Republicans and the Democrats in relation to the wall which US President Donald Trump wants to build along the US-Mexican border. In both texts, the wording concerning the lifting of the embargo is identical.

Last weekend there was an agreement among arbitrators appointed by the House of Representatives and the Senate. This was confirmed by prominent Democrats, without giving further details. The vote in the House is scheduled for Wednesday and will be followed by a vote in the Senate, later the same day or on Thursday. After the bill passes both Chambers, it will go to President Trump for signing.

The bill allows US exports to the Republic of Cyprus of defence-related material. It also notes that it is in the interest of the US to continue supporting UN-facilitated efforts for a comprehensive settlement to end the division of Cyprus. The bill says it is in the interest of the US that the Republic of Cyprus becomes part of the “Partnership for Peace” NATO programme.

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