US, Cyprus strengthen military cooperation

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The United States and Cyprus have taken another important step in strengthening their international cooperation and partnership in military training and security.

On Thursday, the US embassy in Nicosia welcomed the first eight officers from the National Guard, participating in Washington’s International Military Education and Training (IMET) program.

Speaking during a ceremony at the embassy, US Ambassador Judith Garber noted that it was only a year ago America announced the Republic of Cyprus would be the newest partner in IMET.

IMET provides valuable training and education to students from partner nations like Cyprus through professional and technical courses and specialised instruction, “allowing us to better coordinate our security cooperation.”

Garber pointed out, “IMET strengthens international coalitions and partnerships and teaches a common approach to collaborate on global security issues from counter-terrorism to cybersecurity”.

“I am so excited and honoured to recognize the first members of the Cyprus National Guard selected to participate in IMET.

“I am so proud to welcome these officers to my home and to welcome the Republic of Cyprus into the community of IMET partner nations.

“Today really reflects how far US-Cyprus security cooperation has grown.”

The Cypriot officers will participate in courses at the national defence University and the Army War College.

Students will also be travelling to Navy postgraduate school for courses in Cybersecurity, “reflecting our two countries’ shared focus on protecting ourselves from Cyberthreats”.

Garber said the US sees Cyprus’ security as essential to protecting critical infrastructure and “our citizens’ lives and livelihoods”.

“This emerging threat demands that we work together to find another way for protecting our information networks, and the courses that some of the officers will be taking will make this even more possible than it is today.”

The IMET program is a key component of US security assistance, promoting regional stability and defence capabilities through professional military education and training.

Cyprus Defence Minister Charalambos Petrides said that the participation of National Guard officers in military training programmes and courses through IMET “is indeed a watershed moment for which everyone should feel proud.”

“As the State Department recently noted in May 2021, the cooperation between the United States and the Republic of Cyprus is at a historic high.”

Access to IMET and lifting a US arms embargo is part of the EastMed Partnership Act in which Washington pledges closer support for the Greece, Israel and Cyprus regional alliance.

“Cyprus and the US share the objective of regional defence and security cooperation to promote regional peace, stability, and prosperity and address threats ranging from terrorism to climate change.

“Both countries participate in military exercises with others in the region, and we look forward to possible US participation in some of our trilateral formations in a 3+1 format,” said Petrides.