By Constantinos Psillides
CYPRUS, Israel, the United States and Greece carried out a joint search and rescue exercise on Thursday codenamed “Nemesis – 2014”, in an area between Cypriot and Israeli territorial waters.
Defence minister Christoforos Fokaides said he was impressed by the excellent preparation, noting that it confirmed the adequacy and professionalism of the National Guard and all services involved.
He thanked the US, Israel and Greece for participating with their air and naval forces, adding that through such alliances and cooperation, Cyprus can develop and reinforce its geostrategic role as a pillar of stability, security and regional cooperation.
Asked how cooperation will continue with Israel and the US, Fokaides said that similar exercises are being held on a continuous basis, adding “we are in contact with the respective ministers.
Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou, who was also present, said that the exercise is a testament to the extent Cyprus cares about its search and rescue centre, as well as the protection of its national interests.
“We will not spare any territory or the least responsibility in relation to issues that concern the sovereignty of the country. The exercise has given us the possibility of evaluating the readiness of services of the Republic of Cyprus which is surely at a high level,” he added.
We are at a very good level, said Nicolaou, noting that this does not mean that the effort stops here. “There is work to be done, there are possibilities and we need to evaluate in the best possible manner how we can serve the interests of the region and promote in the best possible manner the interests of Cyprus.”
The two ministers were accompanied by Commerce, Energy and Tourism minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis, who said that the exercise was impressive.
“It proves that our search and rescue centre can coordinate any operation that takes place in our area. It is an effort to coordinate with our allies,” said Lakkotrypis, adding that the Cyprus search and rescue centre will be reinforced.