The US has decided to partially lift an arms embargo against Cyprus (ITAR), US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told President Nicos Anastasiades during a phone call on Tuesday evening.
It is understood that the partial lifting of the embargo will last for one year – with the possibility of renewal – and applies to non-lethal systems.
Anastasiades said on Twitter that: “We further stressed the importance to ease tensions in the region, in view of Turkey’s aggressive behaviour.
“I welcome the lifting of the US arms embargo on non-lethal defense articles. A positive development which reinforces further the bilateral security relationship.
“I also underlined to Sec. Pompeo the Turkish threats for reopening of Varosha and our efforts to resume the negotiating process on the Cyprus problem.”
During a press conference, US officials noted that the move is not linked to developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.
They did not make a clear distinction between lethal and non-lethal systems. Matthew Palmer of the US State Department said that each Cypriot request for the supply of American systems will be reviewed separately.
“The US views the Republic of Cyprus as an important partner which contributes significantly to peace in the Eastern Mediterranean,” Palmer said.
“It is a relationship that works, is being developed and is increasing,” he added.
Government Spokesman Kyriacos Kousios said that: “The US decision to partially lift the embargo, imposed on Cyprus in 1987, is a recognition of Cyprus’ role in the region.”