The introduction of the bill comes as a continuation of the declaration of intensions from Christodoulides-Pompeo
By Michalis Michael
Τhe US-Cyprus strategic relationship has gone from theory to practice, through the tabling of a bill for the lifting of the arms embargo to the Republic of Cyprus. IBNA had taken note of the relative steps taken by the Republic of Cyprus, from the declaration of intentions signed last year by the Foreign Ministers of the two countries, Christodoulides-Pompeo, to the filing of this bill, but also the reaction of Russia in particular which had opposed the further militarization of the island, as officials of the Russian government have pointed out.
The submission of the bill was followed by statements, mainly by the Democrat who led the project, Robert Menendez.
“The United States has important national security interests in the Eastern Mediterranean, which are reinforced by strong and expanding relations with Greece, Israel and Cyprus. Co-operation in the field of energy security among these countries in recent years has paved the way for cooperation on a broad agenda of regional security, economy and energy”, Senator Menendez said.
“The time has come for the US to deepen this cooperation and support the constructive progress of our allies to help secure a safe Eastern Mediterranean. This legislation seeks to strengthen our friendship ties through joint efforts to promote the peace, prosperity and security of our nations”, added the minority head of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee.
“This double legislation will continue to strengthen our mutual cooperation on energy and security with our allies in the Eastern Mediterranean region”, said Senator Rubio.
“With the lifting of the US arms embargo in Cyprus and the expansion of the necessary external military assistance to Greece, this legislation highlights a comprehensive approach to the stability of key regional partners”, the Republican Senator added.
What is provided
As promulgated by the United States, the bill that includes provisions for Greece, inter alia, provides that:
It will lift the ban on the sale of arms to the Republic of Cyprus.
It will authorize the establishment of a United States-East Mediterranean Energy Center to facilitate energy cooperation between the US, Israel, Greece and Cyprus.
It will approve USD 3,000,000 for external military funding (FMF) in Greece.
It will approve USD 2,000,000 for International Military Training (IMET) for Greece and USD 2,000,000 for Cyprus.
It will block the transfer of the F-35 aircrafts to Turkey, if Turkey goes along with its plans to buy the S-400 air defense system from the Russian Federation, a market that could result in sanctions under US law.
It will require the government to submit to Congress a strategy for the enhancement of security and energy cooperation with the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as reports on the malicious activities of Russia and other countries in the region.
The interest focuses now on the additional details, but also the reactions, both from the Cypriot side and outside of Cyprus./ibna