The US prohibition on sales of defense and military technology to Cyprus is “unlawful” and can be removed without the need for legislation, a Greek American lobby group has said.
“We contend the State Department has the legal authority to remedy what has been, for years, an unlawful prohibition on arms transfers to the Republic of Cyprus,” American Hellenic Institute (AHI) president Nick Larigakis said.
“We urge the State Department to exercise the requisite political will to get this done. It is in the best interests of the United States for the Republic of Cyprus to look to the United States, and not any other nation, to procure its defense materials,” he added.
His comments came as the AHI announced the publication of a five-page briefing on the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), under which the US has banned the sales of US defense articles and services to Cyprus since 1985.
The ITAR also prohibits the transfer to US military equipment to countries such as Sudan and Somalia.
The AHI said that in discussions with State Department officials in June, it had submitted a memorandum on the issue. The officials forwarded the memorandum to the appropriate office for review. The AHI has raised the issue in follow-up meetings with the State Department.
The briefing describes the ITAR, analyzes why the prohibition on Cyprus is unlawful, explains how the State Department itself can remove Cyprus from the application of the ITAR prohibition and concludes that legislation is not necessary.