U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo also expressed U.S. support for a settlement on the island
The United States has partially lifted the arms embargo on Cyprus. This is confirmed in a written statement by the head of the press service of the U.S. State Department Morgan Ortegus. It was circulated on Tuesday following a telephone conversation between U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and President of Cyprus Nikos Anastasiades.
According to Ortegus, Anastasiades and Pompeo discussed the deepening U.S.-Cyprus security relationship. “Secretary Pompeo informed President Anastasiades of his decision to temporarily lift – for the 2021st fiscal year – restrictions on the export of non-lethal defense equipment and services in this area, intended for Cyprus,” the U.S. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.
In addition, she added, Pompeo reaffirmed the United States’ support for a settlement in Cyprus, the unification of the island as a “two-zone, bicommunal federation.”
Anastasiades has previously welcomed the partial lifting of the U.S. arms embargo on Cyprus.
In December, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a bill approved by the U.S. Congress on the defense budget for the fiscal year 2020, which, among other things, provides for the lifting of the ban on the supply of weapons to Cyprus. It was introduced in 1987 to avoid promoting an arms race on a divided island.
The current decision of the U.S. administration was strongly condemned by Ankara. The Turkish Foreign Ministry said that the step taken by the American side does not correspond to the spirit of allied relations. Turkey has warned that it will retaliate if the U.S. does not reconsider the decision to partially lift the arms embargo on Cyprus.