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CYPRUS: Reforms underway at National Guard

17 August, 2014

Sweeping changes are in progress in the Ministry of Defence and the National Guard to ensure its efficiency and to combat phenomena such as draft avoidance and nepotism, according to Defence Minister Christoforos Fokaides.
He told the Cyprus News Agency CNA in an interview that the geopolitical instability in the region, in combination with Cyprus’ energy prospects have upgraded its potential role and make it a strategic partner for the US, as well as EU and western allies.
In a region which is literally up in flames, he pointed out, Cyprus “is recognised as a key pillar of stability and security”.
But the enhanced relationship with the US does not mean that Cyprus is ignoring its strategic relationship with other countries, evident from his forthcoming visit to China.
As regards nepotism, he said that the recent transfers of permanent staff within the Ministry of Defence had to do with financial management, while a new bill on promotions is expected to be drafted and sent to parliament.
The goal will be to reward excellence and to place the right person in the right post, Fokaides stressed.
As regards combating evasion in national service, he said that a package with incentives will be submitted to the Cabinet on Wednesday, allowing young men in the military service to enrol in the Open University and later claim the credit during their undergraduate studies.
Fokaides added that changes are also underway as regards reservists, without whom the National Guard could not fulfil its role.