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Greek CommunityRI STATE SENATOR LOU RAPTAKIS AND BIPARTISAN HELLENIC-AMERICAN STATE LEGISLATORS CALL ON...

RI STATE SENATOR LOU RAPTAKIS AND BIPARTISAN HELLENIC-AMERICAN STATE LEGISLATORS CALL ON CONGRESS TO LIFT CYPRUS EMBARGO

Hellenic News of America
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Legislators call on their members of Congress to extend waiver renewal period from one year to five years for the arms embargo on the Republic of Cyprus

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 northern 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.

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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 Representative Eleni Kavros DeGraw D- Connecticut
State Representative Nicole Klarides-Ditria R- Connecticut
State Representative Christopher Poulos D- Connecticut
State Representative Spiros Mantzavinos D-Delaware
State Representative Michael Cheokas R-Georgia
State Representative Chuck Efstration R- Georgia
State Senator John Velis D- Massachusetts
State Representative Steven Xiarchos R-Massachusetts
State Senator Sandy Pappas D- Minnesota
Lt. Governor Stavros Anthony R-Nevada
State Senator James Ohrenschall D-Nevada
State Representative Efstathia Booras D-New Hampshire
State Representative Benjamin Baroody D-New Hampshire
State Representative John Lemondes  R- New York
State Assemblyman Michael Tannousis R-New York
State Senator Andrew Gounardes D-New York
State Senator James Skoufis D-New York
State Representative Steve Demetriou R-Ohio
State Senator  Maria Collett D-Pennsylvania
State Representative  Steve Malagari  D-Pennsylvania
State Senator  Leonidas Raptakis D-Rhode Island
State Representative  Leon Stavrinakis D-South Carolina
State Senator Stella Pekarsky D-Virginia
State Representative John Spiros R-Wisconsin
State Senator Stephan Pappas R-Wyoming

The copyrights for these articles are owned by the Hellenic News of America. They may not be redistributed without the permission of the owner. The opinions expressed by our authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hellenic News of America and its representatives.

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