Cyprus Mail

Minister says Cyprus aiming for a semi-professional army


THE GOVERNMENT’S vision for modernising the National Guard (NG) is based on creating a semi-professional army while reducing the duration of service for conscripts, protecting Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and joining NATO’s Partnership for Peace, said Defence Minister Fotis Fotiou yesterday.

Speaking before top brass of the National Guard, Fotiou laid out the three main pillars of the government’s strategy for the period 2013-2018. The minister argued that the continuing Turkish threat and geopolitical strife in the region meant there was no room for complacency.

The aim is to create a flexible and semi-professional army, which, in combination with enhanced cooperation with Greece, could act as a strong deterrent, said Fotiou.

The second pillar is to protect and defend Cyprus’ sovereign rights in its EEZ, to be achieved through the strengthening of its armed forces with the appropriate means, and the strengthening of its strategic cooperation with Israel and other friendly countries.

A third element will be what he called ‘defence diplomacy’, including membership of NATO’s Partnership for Peace, and a more active involvement in the implementation of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy , along with enhanced defence ties with countries that play a decisive role on the international scene, said Fotiou.

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