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French aircraft carrier in Cyprus exercise

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French navy aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle is back in Cyprus to participate in air defence exercises.

Defence Minister Charalambos Petrides confirmed that air defence exercises are taking place off Cyprus, where the Republic’s armed forces participate.

He said the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle is in the area within the context of military exercises and multilateral cooperation.

France’s flagship warship symbolises the strengthening partnerships Cyprus has developed with different countries and allies.

Cyprus and France have signed a Bilateral Defence Cooperation Program that enhances joint military training.

Petrides said: “We have very good cooperation both with the Greek Armed Forces and with other countries inside and outside the EU, and in this direction, the National Guard implements the bilateral and multilateral cooperation agreements we have signed.”

He said that the National Guard is being modernised and strengthened so that it can continue to carry out its task as the main defender of the territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus.

“And strengthening the country’s role as a pillar of stability in the wider region.

“The government’s unchanging goal remains the solution of the Cyprus problem, through a sincere and honest dialogue.”

Nuclear-powered Charles de Gaulle hosts 1,200 sailors, 500 Marines, and about 100 naval officers while carrying 20 Rafale Marine fighter jets, all-weather airborne early warning aircrafts 2C Hawkeye, Caïman and Dauphin Pedro helicopters.

It has visited Cyprus on several occasions since 2010.