US lifts decades-old arms embargo on Cyprus

For the first time since 1987, Cyprus (south Cyprus) can now be able to buy unlimited weapons from the USA, after the US State Department announced the lifting of the embargo on Friday last week.

Cyprus President, Nikos Anastasiades, welcomed the decision on Twitter as a “milestone”, but the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Turkey has condemned the move. 

TRNC government said the step could lead to an escalation in the region.

The US embargo was introduced in 1987 to persuade the parties to the dispute on the divided island and the guarantor powers Greece and Turkey involved to find a diplomatic solution. 

The island of Cyprus is divided into a larger Greek Cypriot part in the south and a Turkish Cypriot part in the north after a Greek coup and Turkish military intervention in 1974. 

Due to the partition, the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, which has also been a member of the EU since 2004, only controls the southern part of the island.

In Washington, it was said that Secretary of State Antony Blinken had informed Congress that Cyprus had met the conditions for lifting the embargo. The situation should be reviewed annually in the future.

Reacting to the development, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said the move is strongly condemned. The decision could lead to an arms race on the island, which would damage peace and stability in the eastern Mediterranean, it said.

The TRNC and Turkey has insisted on a two-state solution in Cyprus but the south continues to call for a federal solution.

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