Home Community Hellenic -American State Legislators Call on Congress to Lift Cyprus Embargo

Hellenic -American State Legislators Call on Congress to Lift Cyprus Embargo

COVENTRY, RI –

Rhode Island State Senator Lou Raptakis is leading a group of dozens of Hellenic-American State Legislators and Nevada Lt. Governor from around the country who are calling on Congress to support bipartisan legislation introduced in early May that would extend the waiver renewal period from one year to five years for the arms embargo on the Republic of Cyprus. This change will bolster the historic growth in U.S.-Cypriot relations, enhance bilateral cooperation, and advance U.S. security interests in the Eastern Mediterranean. The legislation was introduced ahead of the 50th anniversary of Turkey’s illegal invasion and occupation of the northern part of Cyprus.

In the last twenty years, U.S.-Cyprus relations have strengthened substantially, with Cyprus emerging as a pivotal ally for U.S. interests and regional stability. The Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019 authorized the President to waive the arms embargo on an annual basis. However, the annual renewal requirement restricts Cyprus’s ability to plan and procure U.S. defense articles effectively, compromises U.S.-Cypriot military interoperability, impedes joint research on cyber security and maritime security, and diminishes the effectiveness of the National Guard State Partnership Program in Cyprus.

The 2022 lifting of the U.S. arms embargo on Cyprus, pursuant to the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act, was a milestone in the U.S.-Cyprus bilateral relationship. It has already proven to have a positive effect on the increasingly integrated Eastern Mediterranean. As Cyprus continues to demonstrate its value as an essential partner of the U.S. and Israel in efforts to advance peace, stability, and cooperation in the East Mediterranean, the End the Cyprus Embargo Act will help continue this vital momentum.

The proposal would: extend the waiver renewal period for the arms embargo from one year to five years, permit the President to reconsider the arms embargo waiver only every five years following its enactment, prohibit the President from terminating the waiver unless Congress receives certification that the Republic of Cyprus is no longer: cooperating with U.S. efforts to implement anti-money laundering regulations and financial oversight reforms; and denying Russian military vessels access to ports for refueling and servicing.

The Hellenic-American State legislators also congratulated The Hellenic-American state legislators also congratulated the sponsors of the bipartisan bill—Democrats Chris Pappas and Dina Titus of New Hampshire and Nevada respectively, and Republicans Gus Bilirakis and Nicole Malliotakis of Florida and New York respectively—for their efforts and leadership. Raptakis concluded, “We need the United States and the Republic of Cyprus to continue to enjoy a robust and close cooperation especially on the ongoing volatile Eastern Mediterranean region. Individual legislators will also forward letters to their United States Senators and members of Congress which included the following at press time.  

State Representatives: Eleni Kavros DeGraw (D- CT), Nicole Klarides-Ditria (R- CT), Christopher Poulos (D- CT), Spiros Mantzavinos (D-DE), Michael Cheokas  (R-GA), Chuck Efstration  (R- GA), Steven Xiarchos (R-Ma), Efstathia Booras (D-NH), Benjamin Baroody  (D-NH), John Lemondes  (R- NY), Steve Demetriou (R-OH), Steve Malagari  (D-PA), Leon Stavrinakis  (D-SC), John Spiros (R-WI)

State Senators: John Velis (D- MA), Sandy Pappas (D- MN), James Ohrenschall (D-NV), Andrew Gounardes  (D-NY),  James Skoufis (D-NY), Maria Collett (D-PA), Leonidas Raptakis (D-RI), Stella Pekarsky  (D-VA) Stephan Pappas (R-WY)

State Assemblyman: Michael Tannousis (R-NY)

Lt. Governor: Stavros Anthony  (R-NV)

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