Turkey Condemns US Decision To Lift Arms Embargo On Cyprus - Defense Ministry

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 17th September, 2022) The decision of the United States to lift the arms embargo on the Greek Cypriot Administration will damage peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean region, Turkish defense ministry said on Saturday.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken determined on Friday that Cyprus has fulfilled all conditions of the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019 for obtaining the right to purchase US military equipment in 2023 and lifted all defense trade restrictions.

"We strongly condemn the expansion of the scope of the decision taken by the U.S. in September 2020 to lift the arms embargo towards the Greek Cypriot Administration... This decision, which is in contradiction to the principle of equality of the two sides on the Island, and which will further strengthen the Greek Cypriot side's intransigence, will negatively affect the efforts to resettle the Cyprus issue; and it will lead to an arms race on the Island, harming peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean," the statement said.

The ministry called on the international community to respect the status of the Turkish Cypriot people.

"The international community, including the U.S., should reaffirm the sovereign equality and equal international status of the Turkish Cypriot people, which were also confirmed by the 1959-60 Agreements, and act accordingly," the ministry said, adding that the US should reconsider its decision and adopt a more balanced approach.

Turkey will continue to guarantee the existence, security and serenity of the Turkish Cypriots, the ministry said.

Cyprus has been de facto divided since 1974, and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was declared in 1983 with Turkey's backing. Negotiations on the reunification of Cyprus have been underway almost from the moment of its division. The United Nations has attempted brokering reunification talks, but the negotiation reached an impasse. In late June, Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiades expressed his readiness to resume negotiations on the settlement of the Cyprus issue under the UN auspices.