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Jan 19 2019

United States to lift arms embargo on Cyprus

The United States will soon start lifting an arms embargo on Cyprus imposed in 1987 in order to encourage reunification by preventing an arms race on the island, the Cypriot foreign minister said on Friday, Associated Press reported

Washington sees the “added value” of allowing Cyprus to acquire military equipment that would help enhance its capabilities to boost regional security, AP quoted Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides as saying. 

The process to lift the embargo has been set in motion in the U.S. Congress, said the foreign minister. “This is proof, if you like, of the recognition by the U.S. administration of the positive role that Cyprus plays as a pillar of stability and security in the broader region,” Christodoulides said. 

Cyprus was split in 1974 following a Turkish invasion in the wake of a coup aimed at union with Greece. Turkish Cypriots founded a breakaway state on the northern part of the island recognised only by Turkey. 

A bill aiming to lift the arms embargo on Cyprus was introduced in April to the U.S. Congress but was not enacted. 

The foreign minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus on Friday suggested turning the United Nation’s peacekeeping mission on the divided island into a civilian mission, saying a military mission is no longer necessary and is costly.