Cyprus will not abandon Russia as US ties bloom

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Cyprus said joining the US military training programme does not mean Nicosia will abandon its close relationship with Russia, said Cypriot Defence Minister Charalambos Petrides.

Participating in an international US military training scheme does not mean cutting ties with Russia, said the Defence Minister on Friday after meeting Opposition leader of communist party AKEL Andros Kyprianou.

Petrides said the task of his Ministry was to cooperate with all friendly countries, without exception.

He said Cyprus’ participation in international programs contributes to the development of bilateral relations.

Petrides said Cyprus’ landmark participation in the US military training scheme “in no way involves cutting ties with other countries”.

“Russia is a country with which we have had excellent cooperation over time and I assure you that there is no question of terminating this cooperation.

We look forward to a substantive and productive partnership.”

He said the Defence Minister is eager to avoid any controversy.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday said that for the first time Washington will provide international military education and training funding to Cyprus.

It is part of America’s efforts to enhance relationships with key regional partners to promote stability in the Eastern Mediterranean.