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Cyprus eyes future US defence deals

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In the coming months, Cyprus Defence Minister Charalambos Petrides expects to seal key agreements and cooperation programmes with the US.

He said the core of the Defence Ministry’s policy is the promotion of cooperation with other countries.

Petrides referred to the Agapinor 2022 large-scale military exercise that recently took place with Israel and the first high-level official visit by a Defence Minister of Cyprus at the US Pentagon and the National Security Council.

“We hope that agreements and cooperation programmes will be completed in the coming months to strengthen our relations with the United States further”.

He addressed the 82nd School of Underwater Demolition graduation ceremony at Mari’s Evangelos Florakis Naval Base.

Petrides said that the underwater demolition commandos are “the spearhead” of one of the most elite National Guard Units.

He said that Cyprus needs young, responsible, disciplined people who love their homeland.

“Continuous training, preparedness, and high morale are essential qualifications for fulfilling the mission of the Special Forces.”

“We must not forget who we are up against, a country like Turkey that daily shows its intentions, methodically seeking to create two states on the island.

“We remain committed and ready to start a constructive dialogue for a just settlement of the Cyprus problem based on United Nations Security Council resolutions.

“On the other hand, we are obliged to continue training, equipping our armed forces and maintaining them at high levels of preparedness.”

Chief of the National Guard, Lieutenant General Demokritos Zervakis, said after nine months of hard training, the new combat divers would join one of the most elite units of the National Guard, the Underwater Demolition Unit.

He urged the newly-trained officers “to seize the opportunity” to train with similar units of other countries, arguing this would offer them a great experience in their military career and contribute to their operational preparedness.