Reinforcing Cyprus’ defence an act not directed against anyone, FM says following US decision to lift arms embargo

A decision by the United States to lift the arms embargo imposed on Cyprus is a “positive development” that highlights the good relations between Cyprus and USA, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said on Sunday. Speaking in New York, the Minister said the issue of appointing an envoy for Cyprus will be at the center of his contacts on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.


In statements to journalists, Kasoulides said that the development with the lifting of the arms embargo is a result of greater cooperation between Cyprus and the United States, especially in the areas of security, stability and peace in the region.


But it also has to do with the fact that the terms stipulated in the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act, introduced by Senators Robert Menendez and Marco Rubio, regarding money laundering and the presence of Russian military vessels, have been met, the Minister went on.


Asked about the message the announcement of the State Department sends to the Turkish side, Kasoulides said “everyone should get the message they understand. For us, this is part of the framework of good relations between Cyprus and USA, especially on issues pertaining to stability and security, and this is our interpretation.”


Any reinforcement of Cyprus’ national defense is not directed against anyone because defense means the country is defending itself in case someone else turns against it, Kasoulides underlined.


Cyprus’ Foreign Minister participated on Sunday morning in a coordination meeting with members of the Permanent Mission of Cyprus to the UN, ahead of the High Level Week of the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.


Kasoulides described his schedule as a “marathon” of meetings, to further Cyprus’ foreign policy as well as the Cyprus issue.


“Resolving the issue of the envoy, so that deliberations may take place concerning the essence of the Cyprus problem, lies at the center. Because only through deliberations any discussions on confidence-building measures, which may be carried out in parallel, will make sense” the Minister added.


Ioannis Kasoulides will take part in a series of meetings and will attend a dinner on transatlantic relations, hosted by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken for the Foreign Ministers of EU and NATO countries.


He will also hold a series of bilateral meetings and attend two trilateral meetings with his counterparts from Greece and Armenia, and Greece and Egypt, respectively.


Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.


On Friday, the United States announced that it completely lifts an arms embargo on Cyprus. The State Department’s spokesperson, Ned Price, said that Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken, determined and certified to Congress that the Republic of Cyprus has met the necessary conditions under relevant legislation to allow the approval of exports, re-exports, and transfers of defense articles to the Republic of Cyprus for fiscal year 2023. Compliance with the conditions is assessed on an annual basis, the statement noted.


Source: Cyprus News Agency

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