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Cyprus ‘warmly welcomes’ amendment to extend renewal period on arms sales to the island

ΥΠΟΥΡΓΟΣ ΑΜΥΝΑΣ ΟΜΙΛΙΑ
File Photo: Defence Minister Michalis Georgallas

Defence Minister Michalis Georgallas on Sunday welcomed the US Senator Robert Menendez’s proposed amendment to the National Defence Appropriations Act (NDAA) extending to three years from one the renewal period on arms sales to Cyprus.

The minister noted that he highlighted the need for a multi-year renewal of the arms embargo lifting during his visit to Washington DC for the 30th anniversary events of the State Partnership Program (SPP) earlier this week.

“In all my contacts I have stressed to my interlocutors that Cyprus has complied with the terms and conditions contained in the East Med Act and that in order to be able to do long-term planning for the purchase of armaments, a more permanent and multi-year renewal of the lifting of the embargo is required instead of the annual one that is now in place.”

Therefore, he added, “I warmly welcome Senator Robert Menendez’s important initiative and amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) bill.”

US Senator Robert Menendez has introduced an amendment to the US National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) that seeks to extend the present one-year renewal period on arms sales to the Republic of Cyprus.

A US arms embargo, in force since 1987, was lifted in September 2022, but under the East Med Security and Energy Partnership Act arms sales are contingent on the US president certifying each year that Cyprus continues to meet all the conditions outlined in the act to warrant the renewal of the annual waiver.

If Menendez’s amendment is adopted in the final version of the budget, this certification will be extended to every three years.

The chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations explained that this is a logical step towards enabling a more long-term plan for enhancing cooperation between Washington and Nicosia in the realm of security.

“I was proud to witness the bipartisan passage of my bill on Security and Energy Cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean a few years ago, paving the way for the provision of crucial defence systems to bolster Cyprus’ defence,” said Menendez.

“As Cyprus has fulfilled the prerequisites to receive such defence systems, this amendment will allow for long-term planning that ultimately improves security coordination between the United States and the Republic of Cyprus and, hopefully, with other regional allies and partners in the future,” he added.

Meanwhile, another significant step towards enhancing bilateral ties and security cooperation between Cyprus and the US was the recent signing of a declaration to include the Cyprus National Guard in the State Partnership Programme (SPP) of the US Department of Defence, partnering with the National Guard of New Jersey.

Georgallas signed the declaration during his official visit to the US which began on July 15 and was completed on Friday.

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