Pappas, Bilirakis, Titus, Malliotakis Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to End Cyprus Embargo

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Washington, D.C. -In a move aimed at strengthening U.S.-Cypriot relations and promoting regional stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, Representatives Chris Pappas (NH-01), Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11), and Dina Titus (NV-01), co-chairs and vice co-chairs of the Hellenic Caucus, introduced the End the Cyprus Embargo Act today.

The bipartisan legislation proposes extending the waiver renewal period for the arms embargo on the Republic of Cyprus from one year to five years. This change, according to the representatives, is intended to bolster the historic growth in U.S.-Cypriot relations, enhance bilateral cooperation, and advance U.S. security interests in the region.

The introduction of the End the Cyprus Embargo Act comes ahead of the 50th anniversary of Turkey’s illegal invasion and occupation of northern Cyprus, underscoring the importance of addressing longstanding issues related to Cyprus's security and sovereignty.

Over the past two decades, U.S.-Cyprus relations have seen significant progress, with Cyprus emerging as a crucial ally for U.S. interests and regional stability. However, the current annual renewal requirement for the arms embargo poses challenges to Cyprus's defence planning and procurement process, hindering joint research initiatives and military interoperability with the United States.

Congressman Chris Pappas emphasized the need for U.S. policy to reflect better Cyprus's role as a democratic ally in the Eastern Mediterranean, stating, "It’s time U.S. policy better reflects Cyprus’s role as an essential partner in our collective security architecture in the region."

Echoing Pappas's sentiments, Congressman Gus Bilirakis emphasized the importance of providing Cyprus with planning certainty to foster continued partnership and mutual benefits.

Congresswoman Dina Titus emphasized the significance of reducing the burden of embargo reviews on Cyprus, allowing the country to strategically plan for the future while supporting U.S. security interests abroad.

Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis highlighted the outdated nature of the embargo and its counterproductive effects on regional stability, expressing optimism that the legislation would promote greater security and cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The End the Cyprus Embargo Act has garnered support from various organizations, including the American Hellenic Institute (AHI), the American Jewish Committee (AJC), Coordinated Effort of Hellenes, FDD Action, the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), and PSKEA (International Coordinating Committee - Justice for Cyprus).

If passed, the legislation will extend the waiver renewal period for the arms embargo to five years, allowing for more efficient planning and procurement processes for defense articles. Additionally, it will require the President to reconsider the arms embargo waiver every five years, contingent upon certification of Cyprus's cooperation with U.S. efforts on anti-money laundering regulations and denial of access to Russian military vessels in Cypriot ports.

The End the Cyprus Embargo Act represents a significant step towards solidifying U.S.-Cypriot relations, fostering long-term cooperation, and ensuring regional stability in the Eastern Mediterranean.

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