US Ambassador to Cyprus: The lifting of the embargo does not concern Turkey

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In a press conference, the US Ambassador to Cyprus clarified that the US decision to lift the embargo imposed on Cyprus does not concern lethal weapons, noting that the goal at the moment is to strengthen the cooperation between Cyprus and the United States.

The US Ambassador to Cyprus, Judith Garber, stated yesterday that the US decision to lift the embargo imposed on Cyprus in terms of non-lethal equipment does not concern Turkey but greater security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean and dealing with factors with poor action in the area.

Commenting on the Turkish reactions, she said that the US informed Turkey about its decision on Tuesday and urged that there should not be an excessive reaction to it.

Although she emphasized that this decision does not concern Turkey as it is supposedly about greater security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, Ankara none-the-less reacted harshly to the announcement.

Turkey has slammed the decision saying it “disregards the equality and balance” on the island and said it expected its NATO ally to “review” it.

“Otherwise, Turkey as a guarantor country will take the necessary reciprocal steps in line with its legal and historical responsibility to guarantee the security of the Turkish Cypriot people,” it said.

Garber said that the US decision to lift the embargo will be valid from October 1, 2020 until September 30, 2021 .

She stressed that this decision does not reflect a change in the US position on the settlement of the Cyprus issue.

Noting that some will ask if the US is taking this step in response to recent developments in the region, the US Ambassador stressed that the answer is no.

Garber reminded that the legislation that enabled the announced decision calls on the Republic of Cyprus to continue its efforts to implement strong anti-money laundering and financial regulatory oversight regulations, and to take the necessary steps to refuse access to Russian warships in its ports for supplies and services, stressing that the United States urges the Republic of Cyprus to take these steps.

The American Ambassador went onto claim that Russia is playing a very destabilizing role in the region, especially in Syria, and that we can see the impact this has on the island with the flow of migrants coming from Syria.

She noted that this is an issue that they will continue to discuss with the Government of the Republic of Cyprus as they have been doing for some time.

Garber said that the relationship between the United States and the Republic of Cyprus in terms of security continues to develop.

“Cyprus is an important partner and a key player in the Eastern Mediterranean… this step strengthens our security relationship with Cyprus and increases security in the Eastern Mediterranean,” she said.

She said that the US determination shown in this issue for months is a consequence of the country’s growing cooperation with the Republic of Cyprus in matters of security and the fact that the US evaluates the Eastern Mediterranean as a region of increasing strategic importance in an era of strong power competition.

Asked about the possible presence of US naval forces in the Eastern Mediterranean region, Garber said that in the context of their growing bilateral security relationship with the Republic of Cyprus, the US has recently conducted some exercises with the Republic of Cyprus, but these were not directly related to developments in the region.

She further noted that there was an increased number of visits by American ships to Cypriot ports last year and that they look forward to other such visits in the future.

Due to the arms embargo on Cyprus, Russia became one of the main weapons supplier to the island country. Now the US is attempting to reverse this after choosing to help the Turks by not arming Cyprus.