Washington, DC – The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) applauds the enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (NDAA), which President Barack Obama signed into law on November 25, 2015.
The act includes a provision aimed to assess the security relationship between the United States and the Republic of Cyprus via a report that will include an analysis of the effect of the United States’ arms embargo on Cyprus upon the security relationship. U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) and U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) initially crafted and introduced the provision as an amendment which passed the U.S. House of Representatives in May.
In the following statement, AHI President Nick Larigakis explains the importance and relevance of the provision to United States interests:
“United States law prohibits the transfer of U.S.-supplied arms to Cyprus. Subsequent public notices from the federal government have expanded the scope of the law to cover all defense articles and services destined for Cyprus. Because of this U.S. embargo, which was enacted after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, the government of the Republic of Cyprus has no other choice but to procure defense articles from sellers other that the United States. It is in the best interest of the United States that the Republic of Cyprus maintains its Western orientation. The American Hellenic Institute has advocated for the lifting of the United States’ arms embargo in its Policy Statements.”
U.S. Should Lift Embargo, Review Unnecessary
The provision authorizes the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State to jointly submit to the appropriate congressional committees “a report on the security relationship between the United States and the Republic of Cyprus.” The two secretaries are to submit the joint report no later than 120 days after the NDAA is enacted. The appropriate congressional committees are: the congressional defense committees, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
President Larigakis maintained that a review of the ongoing security and military relationship between the United States and the Republic of Cyprus is unnecessary. The U.S. arms embargo on the Republic of Cyprus should be lifted and not reviewed.
“To be clear for the record, the law requires only that the security relationship between the United States and the Republic of Cyprus be assessed,” Larigakis said. “The law does not lift the U.S. embargo, but it is an important first step.”
He added, “We thank Congressmen Cicilline and Bilirakis for spearheading this policy initiative.”
The American Hellenic Institute is a non-profit Greek American think tank and public policy center that works to strengthen relations between the United States and Greece and Cyprus, and within the Greek American community.