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AHI Applauds House Passage of Defense Authorization Act
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Georgea Polizos
May 22, 2015—No. 29 (202) 785-8430

AHI Applauds House Passage of Defense Authorization Act

Legislation includes amendment to assess military capability of the Republic of Cyprus

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) applauds passage of H.R.1735, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (NDAA), by the U.S. House of Representatives, May 15, 2015, that includes an amendment aimed to assess the military capability of the Republic of Cyprus. U.S. Rep. Dave Cicilline (D-RI) and U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) sponsored the amendment, which the House approved by voice vote.

In the following statement, AHI President Nick Larigakis explains the importance and relevance of the Cicilline/Bilirakis amendment to United States interests:

“United States law prohibits the transfer of U.S.-supplied arms to Cyprus and subsequent public notices from the federal government expanded the scope of the law to cover all defense articles and services destined for Cyprus. Because of this U.S. embargo, which was enacted after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, the Cyprus government is left with no other choice but to turn to the other foreign markets for procuring its defense equipment. It is in the best interest of the United States that the Republic of Cyprus maintains its Western orientation and it is preferred that the Republic of Cyprus turn to the United States to procure its defense materials and not look to other markets.

 “The American Hellenic Institute has advocated for the lifting of the United States’ arms embargo in its Policy Statements as in the best interest of the United States.”

What the Amendment Will Do if Enacted

As crafted, the Cicilline/Bilirakis amendment, in general, will ask the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of State to assess the military capability of the Republic of Cyprus. It requires the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State to jointly submit to the appropriate congressional committees “an assessment of the military capability of the Republic of Cyprus to defend against threats to its national security, including threats posed by hostile foreign governments and international terrorist groups.” The two secretaries are to submit the joint report no later than 90 days after the NDAA is enacted. The appropriate congressional committees are defined to be: the congressional defense committees, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

In applauding the House’s action, AHI President Nick Larigakis stressed the legislation must still pass the U.S Senate and become law. 

“To be clear for the record, the Cicilline/Bilirakis amendment requests an assessment of the military capability of the Republic of Cyprus,” Larigakis said. “It does not lift the U.S. embargo. It is our hope that the findings of the assessment will point to a need to for the United States government to change its policy and lift the U.S. embargo on the Republic of Cyprus.”

He added, “We thank Congressmen Cicilline and Bilirakis for spearheading this legislative initiative with the cooperation of Congressman Ed Royce, who chairs the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.  We call for the U.S. Senate to pass the NDAA with the Cicilline/Bilirakis amendment included.”

The American Hellenic Institute is a non-profit Greek American think tank and public policy center that works to strengthen relations between the United States and Greece and Cyprus, and within the Greek American community.

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For additional information, please contact Georgea Polizos at (202) 785-8430 or at [email protected] For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our website at http://www.ahiworld.org and follow us on Twitter @TheAHIinDC.