Cyprus, France and Italy to conduct naval exercise

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Cyprus, France and Italy will conduct on Thursday a tripartite maritime cooperation naval exercise, called “CYP/FRA/IT 2019” in the island’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

According to the Defence Ministry, the three countries will conduct the “PASSEX” type naval exercise in the maritime area south of Cyprus and within the EEZ of the Republic, in the framework of their defence cooperation.

PASSEX is an exercise done between navies to ensure that they are able to communicate and cooperate in times of war or humanitarian relief.

Navy vessels from the three countries will participate in the drill, in order to improve the operational capabilities of their crews, enhance communication and understanding and promote a spirit of cooperation, the ministry said.

Both Italy (Eni) and France (Total) are heavily involved in the island’s energy exploration which is opposed by Turkey. Ankara has dispatched two drillships within Cyprus waters.

Nicosia’s defence cooperation with fellow EU partners France and Italy has gone up several levels in the past few years.