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US Submarine Docks in Cyprus Angering Turkish-Cypriots

US submarine Cyprus
The submarine’s visit was seen as evidence of the commitment by the US and Cyprus to promoting security and stability. Credit: Twitter/Nikos Christodoulides

A US submarine docked in Limassol, southern Cyprus earlier in the week, provoking an angry response by the Turkish Cypriots.

Cyprus President Nikos Christoudoulides visited the USS San Juan, the Los Angeles-class submarine.

The US Ambassador to Cyprus Julie Fisher hailed the vessel’s arrival as “clear evidence of the commitment by the US and Cyprus to promoting security and stability in the region.”

The so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) criticized the US Navy for anchoring the submarine at the Cypriot port, saying that it “threatens stability on the island.”

In a statement, the Turkish Cypriot administration, which is not recognized by the international community, said that Cyprus continues to disrupt the atmosphere of stability and peace on the island and in the Eastern Mediterranean by stepping up its arms purchases.

“We strongly condemn the docking of the USS San Juan attack submarine at a Greek Cypriot seaport,” it added. ”

We repeatedly state that the removal of the arms sales restrictions imposed by the US on the Greek Cypriot administration and subsequent steps that will endanger the security of the Turkish Cypriot people will encourage the Greek Cypriot administration to take up arms.”

Citing pledges by Michalis Giorgallas, the Greek Cypriot administration’s defense minister, to buy US weapon systems, the statement said such developments show that the U.S. is helping the Greek Cypriot administration systematically arm itself.

US strengthens military relations with Cyprus

The visit of the US submarine in Cyprus is another indication that Washington aims to strengthen military relations with the legitimate government of the Mediterranean island.

In October last year, US jets tore across the skies of Cyprus, flying over the occupied cities of Famagusta and Karpasia, causing frustration in Ankara.

By bypassing the so-called Turkish control in Cyprus, the United States ignored submitting the relevant request needed for flying over.

The US Air Force conducted the exercise within the Nicosia FIR and the airspace of the Republic of Cyprus, centered on Famagusta Bay.

In September 2022, the US lifted the arms embargo on Cyprus for the 2023 fiscal year.

Cyprus has now fulfilled all the requirements of the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019 passed by the US Congress following a proposal by US Senators Bob Menendez and Marco Rubio.

The legislation led the US to partially lift its arms embargo against Cyprus in 2020 to allow for “non-lethal” military goods to be sold to the Republic, including military training programs.

In return, Cyprus was to refuse Russian military vessels docking in ports in the government-controlled areas among other stipulations.

The bipartisan Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act signed into law on December 20, 2020, is a comprehensive bill that recognizes the vital importance of Greece and Cyprus in the region.

The law among other things:

Promotes the continued development of a new energy triangle in the Eastern Mediterranean by encouraging natural gas exploration (especially by the Republic of Cyprus in its Exclusive Economic Zone)

Lifts the outdated arms embargo on Cyprus, allowing it to purchase U.S. made military equipment

Provides millions for the International Military Educational Training program and Foreign Military Assistance to both Greece and Cyprus.


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