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US Navy Seals, Cyprus special forces in joint exercise

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US Navy Seals joined the National Guard’s Special Operations Team in a military exercise at Limassol port on Friday, symbolising improved defence cooperation.

Under the watchful eyes of Defence Minister Charalambos Petrides and US Ambassador Judith G Garber, the exercise was conducted within Cyprus-US bilateral cooperation.

The exercise scenario included the boarding, inspection and finally, the takeover of a ship on the General Support vessel “ALASIA” of the Cyprus Naval Administration moored at the Limassol port.

Following the exercise, the Defence Minister congratulated the participants while thanking the US Ambassador for her presence.

“Today is another important milestone in enhancing the defence cooperation of the Republic of Cyprus with the United States,” said Petrides.

He said the Cyprus-US special forces exercise is part of a broader joint training program in special operations, with many more to come.

“Cyprus and the USA are on the same strategic ship. We must be able to respond to asymmetric threats and emerging crises.”

Garber also expressed her satisfaction with the progress of bilateral defence cooperation relations between Cyprus and the USA, noting other joint activities will follow.

“Our objective is to deepen and enhance our bilateral defence cooperation with the US and increase our interoperability and ability to work together for the security and stability in the region.

“Together, we can enhance maritime safety and stability in the Eastern Med.”

Cyprus and the US have upgraded their military cooperation in the region with a series of joint exercises, strengthening their international cooperation and partnership in military training and security.

Washington recently lifted the 1987 US arms embargo on weapon sales to Cyprus as part of the EastMed Partnership Act, pledging closer support for the Greece, Israel and Cyprus regional security alliance.

The US decided for the first time last year to provide military education and training funding to Cyprus following Congressional approval of The Eastern Mediterranean Energy and Security Partnership Act.