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Cyprus is key East Med partner for France

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Cyprus is among the top partners of France in the Eastern Mediterranean region, Captain Paul Merveilleux Du Vignaux, commanding officer of the French frigate Auvergne, said.

He gave a press conference aboard the frigate docked at Larnaca port on Monday.

Du Vignaux said: “Our mission improves security and stability in an impartial way.

“That’s why the French navy has been deploying for decades and even centuries in the Eastern Med, which is of prime importance for France and Europe prosperity.”

“This vision is shared between France and the Republic of Cyprus, as a member of the European Union and one of the top partners of France in the region.

“We particularly appreciate the way the Cyprus authorities welcome the French Navy for port visits or aircraft deployments, may it be for one ship or aircraft, or in support to the carrier strike group.

“Of course, considering the geographic position of Cyprus, your country is a major strategic place for the support of our naval operations; there can’t be efficient and sustainable operations without strong support, and Cyprus is a centrepiece of this support.

Auvergne is the 5th of a series of 8 multi-mission frigates; she is 142m long and was commissioned three years ago.

Since 2018 she has deployed in the Eastern Med and the Indian Ocean.

The 150-crew FREMM class destroyer is equipped with cutting-edge technology, especially anti-submarine warfare with state-of-the-art sonars and combat systems.

Last year, Auvergne was awarded the anti-submarine warfare excellence award by the US Navy.

“She has tremendous skills under and also above water, in operations of sea control, strategic strikes on the ground with the naval cruise missiles, support to special operations.”

Auvergne deploys in Eastern Med for a few weeks until January and has visited Cyprus 11 times in the last three years.

“The simultaneous deployment of an ATL2 maritime patrol aircraft in Paphos underlines how important France considers this part of the Mediterranean Sea.

“Our mission here could be summed up in three words: operate, cooperate, stabilize.

“Next Friday, we will conduct a QUAD (East Mediterranean Coordinated Military Initiative) exercise with the Cyprus and Italian Navy.

“This kind of cooperation underlines the quality of our relationship and also the fact that France is a credible and reliable partner.
“France tries to keep a permanent presence of its naval ships here in the Eastern Med.

“The deployment of French naval ships in the area is always in location to work with the Cyprus navy and air force. We take all opportunities to cooperate.

“We are always very welcome, and we have logistic support facilities as well, which is very appreciated by the French Navy.

“I would say that the relationship between the French navy particularly and Cyprus forces are stronger and stronger, and these port visits and exercises contribute to reinforcing this relationship.”