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Cyprus, Germany seek closer defence ties

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Further development of the defence collaboration between Cyprus and Germany was highlighted by Defence Minister Charalambos Petrides and German counterpart Christine Lambrecht during her visit.

Lambrecht recognised Cyprus’ consistent stance when imposing EU sanctions on Russia.

“The consistency the EU has shown vis-à-vis President Putin and Russia is a very important message that we have sent, something that Putin did not expect.

“We, as partners of shared values, need to continue to express that we stand by our values.

“It is also very important for me to know that I can rely on the Republic of Cyprus in that regard when it comes to the sanction regime imposed due to the brutal war Russia is waging in Ukraine,” she said Sunday.

“In such highly challenging times, it is necessary to cooperate very closely at the bilateral and EU levels.

“This is why as agreed, we are committed to cooperating even more closely and being more engaged in the EU Common Security and Defence Policy.”

“It is an important message that the EU can send, that we are undertaking our responsibility in this very important area, and I am very happy to know that I can count on the Republic of Cyprus in these endeavours,” she said.

Petrides said that the German Defence Minister’s visit constitutes a milestone in the two countries’ bilateral defence partnership, such as facilities offered by the Republic to the German UNIFIL maritime taskforce contingent based in Cyprus since 2006.

He said Cyprus would continue to support Germany in this important deployment to fulfil the mission’s Lebanon mandate to ensure maritime security in the whole region.

Ukraine

“Our countries have only to gain through their collaboration, it comes at a time when the rules-based international order is questioned, and revisionist powers are on the rise.

“The effects of the illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine are more than visible and affect all of us,” said Petrides.

Petrides appreciated Lambrecht for sharing a forward-looking approach to developing bilateral cooperation in terms of the institutional framework and military cooperation.

“We also have opportunities for cooperation within the EU framework, such as in the various European defence initiatives, the deployment and the procurement of armaments and capabilities, thus strengthening the European defence industrial base.

“We will work jointly to foster a robust, long-term bilateral defence collaboration with Germany that will be based on the principles of international law and the promotion of our European values.”

This year the two countries signed their first-ever bilateral defence collaboration programme, and a defence attaché was posted to the embassy of Cyprus in Berlin last month.

“These steps will ensure that our cooperation will be developed in a sustained manner.

“With these visits and in-depth consultations, our cooperation received new impetus and momentum to work together in addressing mutual threats and harnessing new opportunities.”

Lambrecht thanked the support Cyprus has been extending to the German contingent of UNIFIL.

She said it is crucial that “we continue strengthening Ukraine, especially at this moment, so that it can protect itself from missiles and drones, and we will continue to do just that”.

Germany is also “assisting other states in exploring opportunities so they can support Ukraine as well, but the decision as to which country delivers what to Ukraine is a decision for every country to make”.