US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller made a written statement that the US has lifted the arms embargo on the Greek Cypriot Administration (GCA) for one year.
Stating that Foreign Minister Antony Blinken determined that the Greek Cypriot Administration fulfilled the necessary conditions under the relevant legislation to allow re-exports and transfers of defense materials to be approved in the 2024 fiscal year, Miller stated that compliance with the conditions is evaluated annually.
Miller reported that as a result of this determination and documentation, Minister Blinken lifted the defense trade restrictions for the Southern Cyprus in the 2024 fiscal year.
The spokesperson noted that Washington’s international arms trade regulations will be changed to reflect the new policy, effective October 1, 2023.
Miller shared the information that this determination does not represent a change, but merely a “redocumentation of the determination of the fiscal year 2023”.
Reaction from TRNC
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) reacted to the US prolonging its decision to lift the arms embargo on the Greek Cypriot Administration (GCA):
“Despite all our efforts, it is not possible to accept that the US administration’s stance that supports the arming of the Greek Cypriot side, at the expense of disrupting the delicate balance on the Island, will continue to gain momentum. This move is a sign of the US administration’s commitment to the stability of the Island and the region at a time when the Greek Cypriot side is increasing its military cooperation with many countries. It has made us question his sincerity about the importance he attaches to it once again.”
“In the face of these actions, we reiterate that we will continue to strike together with the Motherland Türkiye”
In the statement, it was emphasized that the visits of the US warships to the ports of the Greek Cypriot Administration for various reasons were met with concern by the TRNC, and that the continuity of the port visits was worrying for the maintenance of peace and stability in Cyprus and encouraged the military provocations of the Greek Cypriot Administration in the region.
Calling on the United States to avoid provocative steps in the field of defense under the guise of cooperation with the Greek Cypriots and to observe the delicate balances in the Island and the region, the statement said, “In the face of these actions, we will continue to take all necessary steps to ensure the security of the Turkish Cypriot people, as always, together with the Motherland Turkey. We reiterate that we will continue.” statement was included.
Lifting the export restriction to Greek Cypriot Administration
Under the 2019 Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act and the 2020 Fiscal Year National Defense Authorization Act, the removal of the export restriction of the US defense products to the Southern Cyprus was subject to two conditions.
According to these two laws, the President of the USA reported to the Congress that the Greek Cypriot Administration cooperated with the United States in its efforts to make regulations in the fight against money laundering and to implement the reforms to control it, and to prevent Russian warships from entering its ports for refueling and service. Relevant embargoes are lifted on an annual basis, if they report once a year that they have taken and continue to take the necessary steps.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs annually reviews the compliance of the Greek Cypriot Administration’s situation with the aforementioned laws and reports it to the Congress.