New bill in US Congress calls for end to arms embargo on Cyprus

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Three US congressmen have introduced a bipartisan bill that supports the growing partnership in the eastern Mediterranean between Israel, Greece and Cyprus and calls for an end to an arms embargo on Cyprus, the Ahval news website reported, citing the Greek Ekathimerini daily.

The bill was proposed by Democratic representatives Ted Deutch and David Cicilline and Republican Gus M. Bilirakis. 

It follows a bill introduced by Senators Marco Rubio and Robert Menendez in April to enhance security cooperation in the eastern Mediterranean. That bill included increased defense support for Turkey’s neighbors and halting the delivery of 100 US F-35 fighter jets ordered by Turkey if it completes its purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile system.

In addition to intensifying US involvement in regional energy pursuits in the eastern Mediterranean, the bill also aims to improve defense cooperation with the regional states by authorizing security assistance to Greece and lifting an existing embargo on arms transfers to the Republic of Cyprus. 

Another bill lifting the arms embargo on Cyprus was introduced in April 2018 but was not passed into law.

The legislation also makes clear that the US Congress will not turn a blind eye to Turkey’s regional aggression or pursuit of policies that threaten the interests of the United States and its partners, Kathimerini said. 

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