Defence Minister Savvas Angelides expressed his strong belief that the Republic of Cyprus, following the right steps without promoting disputes, will fully implement its energy planning, in an interview with CNA.
At the same time, he called upon everyone in Cyprus, including the Media, to behave seriously and not to send wrong messages.
In his interview with CNA, the Minister spoke about Cyprus` international and regional cooperation with the countries of the region, namely Egypt, Israel and Greece, as well as France, underlining the important role of France within the EU and its special interest for peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean region. He stressed that building bilateral and trilateral partnerships in the defence sector, Cyprus has been established as a pillar of security and stability in the region.
Angelides also referred to the reduction in military service, and reviewed the reform of the contract soldiers, noting that there are some problems which the Ministry aims to solve. He also announced the implementation of a project for the military reserves that will begin from January 2019.
Asked how the Republic of Cyprus protects the companies in proceeding with their investigations in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone and how the energy planning progresses undisturbed, Angelides noted that the Republic of Cyprus aims to ensure the uninterrupted continuation of the energy planning. He assured that in cooperation with other departments and Ministries of Cyprus they take all the necessary actions to that end. Noting that these actions have already proved to bring results, Angelides pointed out that EXXON Mobil’s drilling will begin soon.
In a question about the common military drill with Israel, that is taking place in Nicosia’s FIR and the land of the Republic of Cyprus, the Minister said that such kind of drills with Israel have as their ultimate goal the upgrading of the National Guard’s readiness, which is achieved by the exchange of experience and knowledge with the Israelis.
Asked what messages these exercises with Israel send to the international community and our neighbors, he stressed that the aim of the exercises is not to send messages but to implement some strategically important bilateral co-operations. It is not our own goal to send messages, nor to provoke.
“Our aim is to become a pillar of stability in the region, that is why, in the context of defense diplomacy, we are pursuing cooperation with neighboring countries aimed at security, stability and development in the region. The message we send with these bilateral and trilateral partnerships is not a message of provocation, but instead is a message of unity,” he said.
Called to reply whether there is a connection in the context of cooperation with France and the involvement of TOTAL in Cyprus EEZ, Angelides said that the French concern, as it derives from its’ leading role in PESCO, is to have stability and security in the region. “If there is such security and stability in the region then surely the energy planning will continue unhindered. So, it is a fact that they are connected,” he said.
Regarding the cooperation with Egypt and Israel, the Minister said these are two neighboring countries with which we share common interests and common values that focus on the need for development in the region. “I am in a position to say that both bilateral and tripartite partnerships with Egypt and with Israel are at a very good level. We have good results, we do not stop here, but we continue to further upgrading these relations,” he stated.
Asked about the cooperation with Greece and the Common Defense Doctrine, Angelides said that there is an excellent relationship with the Greek military forces, within the framework of bilateral, trilateral partnerships, but also within the EU. “We have a special relationship with Greece and I believe that these relations are being developed on a daily basis,” he said.
(Cyprus News Agency)