Official: US to lift Cyprus arms embargo in security boost

Official: US to lift Cyprus arms embargo in security boost
FILE - In this Thursday, March 1, 2018 file photo, Nikos Christodoulides speaks after taking the oath of office as Cyprus' new foreign minister during a ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, Cyprus. Cyprus' foreign minister says on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019, he's optimistic that the US will soon start lifting a decades-old arms embargo because Washington acknowledges the island nation's contribution to bolstering stability and security in the east Mediterranean. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias, File)

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus’ foreign minister says he’s optimistic that the U.S. will soon start lifting a decades-old arms embargo because Washington acknowledges the island nation’s contribution to bolstering stability and security in the east Mediterranean.

Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides told The Associated Press on Friday that Washington sees the “added value” of allowing Cyprus to acquire military equipment that would help enhance its capabilities to boost regional security.

Christodoulides said he has conveyed to his Russian counterpart that stronger ties with Washington shouldn’t be interpreted as “prejudicial” to Cyprus’ relations with any other country. He said Cyprus’ foreign policy doesn’t engage in a “zero-sum game.”

Christodoulides said the U.S. and some European Union countries are keen to join energy-based partnerships that Cyprus has established with neighboring countries including Egypt, Jordan and Israel.