Charles De Gaulle in Limassol shows French support

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France says the presence of its aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in Limassol symbolises the close relationship between Paris and Cyprus as European Union partners.

French aircraft carrier group including Charles de Gaulle, supply ship Var and Greek navy frigate Psara will be docked at Limassol until 26 February, while the multi-mission Frigate Auvergne will dock in Larnaca.

Defence Minister, Savvas Angelides visited the air carrier on Thursday off Cyprus, accompanied by French Ambassador in Nicosia, Isabelle Dumont, to observe military operations.

The on-board air group comprises 20 Rafale Marine, 2 E-2C Hawkeye aircraft, 1 Marine Cayman helicopter (NH90) and 2 Dauphin Pedro helicopters.

After leaving Toulon on 21 January the aircraft carrier group forming Task Force 473 around Charles de Gaulle has conducted operations in the Middle East for the last four weeks as part of the international coalition against ISIS (Inherent Resolve) before it sailed to Limassol.

“The port call of aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in Limassol illustrates the close relationship between France and Cyprus as part of the European Union. During its presence in the vicinity of Cyprus, the French aircraft carrier group has been conducting several exercises with the Cypriot National Guard,” a French embassy statement said.

President Nicos Anastasiades will visit the ship on Saturday.