Provisions for lifting the US arms embargo on the Republic of Cyprus and for the conditional suspension of the transfer of the F-35 fighters to Turkey are included in the draft of the new National Defense Authorization Bill voted on Thursday by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate.
It is worth noting that these provisions are verbally identical to the corresponding provisions of the East Med Act. According to supporters of the lifting of the embargo, the elimination of these restrictions would allow Washington to update its policy in the Eastern Mediterranean and at the same time lead to the limitation of Russian influence in Cyprus.
In addition, in the same version of the bill, the message to Ankara is re-sent that the completion of the acquisition of the Russian S-400 system will lead to the abolition of F-35 fighter transfers and will have negative side effects on defense cooperation between the two countries. In this respect, the US President is asked to fully implement all sanctions provided under the CAATSA Sanctions Act.
Speaking of a foreign policy message emitted by the Senate, Senator Bob Menendez said the bill showed US partners around the world that Washington is committed to meeting the challenges and opportunities emerging in the Eastern Mediterranean region.
“With Cyprus seeking to deepen its strategic partnership with the United States, it serves our national security and economic interests to remove these obsolete armaments that are no longer helping US security goals,” said the US Senator.
HALC Satisfaction for the New American Policy in the Eastern Mediterranean
HALC executive director Eddie Zemenidis said the lifting of the defense embargo would strengthen both Nicosia-Washington bilateral relations and the potential of the tripartite alliance of Greece, Cyprus, Israel.
“This is another huge step in the direction of a new US policy in the Eastern Mediterranean. With the provision for F35, the Pentagon Budget Bill is clear: Turkey is no longer a ‘favored nation’ status when it comes to US security policy. He has to prove he is a reliable ally and contributes to regional stability and cooperation and not a destabilizing state that violates the international law (rogue state), “said Mr. Zemenidis.