US to provide military training for Cyprus

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The United States on Wednesday announced its intention to provide International Military Education and Training (IMET) to Cyprus from next year.

“We plan to provide IMET to the Republic of Cyprus beginning in U.S. fiscal year 2021, subject to Congressional appropriations and notification,” said a statement from the US embassy in Nicosia.

It said the IMET programme is a key component of U.S. security assistance, promoting regional stability and defence capabilities through professional military education and training.

Through professional and technical courses with specialized instruction, IMET provides students from allied and friendly nations valuable training and education on U.S. military practices and standards.

“IMET serves as an effective means to strengthen military partnerships and international coalitions that defend our national security interests,” said the statement.

“IMET facilitates the development of important professional and personal relationships among defence leaders.

It also helps develop a common understanding of shared international challenges and fosters the relationships necessary to counter those challenges collaboratively.”

Offering IMET to Cyprus falls under America’s Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019, which aims to strengthen a security partnership in the region with Nicosia, Athens and Israel.

“The Republic of Cyprus is an important partner in the Eastern Mediterranean region. We look forward to continuing to deepen our bilateral relationship as we promote regional stability.”

The US law geared toward boosting energy and security cooperation in the East Mediterranean is a landmark in Cyprus-Washington relations.

It also underlines the importance America attaches to a blossoming energy partnership between Cyprus, Greece and Israel.

Cyprus, Greece and Israel have since 2016 forged closer relations based on natural gas deposits discovered in the eastern Mediterranean.

Among the key aspects of this partnership is a plan for a pipeline to potentially convey Cypriot and Israeli offshore gas to mainland Europe via Greece.

The act also lifts a 32-year-old US arms embargo on Cyprus, paving the way for the upgrading of relations.