Enhancing relations with Gulf states which have significant military capabilities and defence equipment is a top priority for Cyprus, said Defence Minister Charalambos Petrides.
He told CNA that more prospects are opening up for regional collaboration following the recent cooperation between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel.
Petrides said that apart from defence and military cooperation with the UAE, his Ministry is working on similar cooperation agreements with other Gulf states with mutual military and diplomatic benefits.
“Enhancing and expanding defence and military alliances has multiple benefits for the Republic of Cyprus on a diplomatic, security, defence and interstate relations level.
“We seek long-term cooperation in areas of common interest with neighbouring countries and European and other friendly countries who show an interest in developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.”
In this context, Petrides added, “enhancing our relations with Gulf states, countries which are developed militarily and have significant capabilities and defence equipment, is within our priorities.”
On January 12, Cyprus and the UAE signed a memorandum of defence and military cooperation.
“This was a particularly important development, as it is the first cooperation memorandum between the two countries in the area of defence and security.”
Petrides added that the agreement provides for joint exercises, training programmes and consultations, promoting operational cooperation between their armed forces.
He said the UAE is interested in the Eastern Mediterranean and has excellent relations with other partners of Cyprus such as Greece, France and Egypt.
“Our common goal is for the Eastern Mediterranean to become a maritime region of peace, stability and prosperity for everyone.”
Petrides also said that a revised military agreement with France signed in Paris in 2017 but active since last August “serve the same goals”.
“Defence cooperation with France is particularly important for the Republic of Cyprus.” (source CNA)