New weapons needed while Turkey threatens

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While under occupation and Turkey’s guns are pointed at the National Guard, Cyprus is obligated to be at its highest level of operational readiness by continuously enhancing its defences, said Defence Minister Charalambos Petrides.

“We are going forward with steady steps in acquiring new weapons systems which are necessary under the circumstances,” Petrides said in an address at a National Guard event.

“In this critical period, during which there are increased provocations on the part of Turkey, we are obligated to be vigilant at all times to deal with all dangers that may occur.”

He said Turkey was deploying destabilising actions in Cyprus’ EEZ and fenced-off Varosha.

Petrides noted that the government’s goal is to end this “unacceptable state of affairs and reach a diplomatic solution to the Cyprus problem”.

“We are aware of our responsibilities, and we have realised that there is no other way than to seek to assert our rights, using all legitimate means at our disposal, making the most of our status as a European country, in combination with the alliances we are building and our island’s enhanced geopolitical importance.”

In July 2017, at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana, the last round of UN-led negotiations ended inconclusively.