Hellenic-American legislators urge Congress to extend Cyprus arms embargo waiver renewal

Hellenic-American legislators urge Congress to extend Cyprus arms embargo waiver renewal

Rhode Island State Senator Lou Raptakis is leading a coalition of dozens of Hellenic-American state legislators and Nevada Lt Governor Stavros Anthony in calling on Congress to support bipartisan legislation introduced in early May that seeks to extend the waiver renewal period for the arms embargo on the Republic of Cyprus from one year to five years.

“This change will bolster the historic growth in US-Cypriot relations, enhance bilateral cooperation, and advance US security interests in the Eastern Mediterranean,” a statement read.

The legislation comes ahead of the 50th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion and occupation of northern Cyprus. The Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019 authorized the US president to waive the arms embargo on an annual basis. However, the annual renewal requirement is seen as restricting Cyprus’ ability to plan and procure US defense articles effectively, compromising US-Cypriot military interoperability, impeding joint research on cybersecurity and maritime security, and diminishing the effectiveness of the National Guard State Partnership Program in Cyprus.

According to the campaigners, the 2022 lifting of the US arms embargo on Cyprus, pursuant to the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act, was a milestone in the US-Cyprus bilateral relationship. It has positively impacted the increasingly integrated Eastern Mediterranean. “As Cyprus continues to demonstrate its value as an essential partner of the US and Israel in efforts to advance peace, stability, and cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean, the End the Cyprus Embargo Act will help continue this vital momentum,” the statement read.

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

Individual legislators will also forward letters to their US Senators and members of Congress. At press time, these include:

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)

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.