NICOSIA and Rome have concluded a defence agreement providing, among others, for joint military exercised and the sharing of know-how between their armed forces.
The deal was signed in the Italian capital on Thursday by Defence Minister Fotis Fotiou and his Italian counterpart Mario Mauro.
During talks in Rome, the two ministers also discussed bilateral relations in the area of competence, with special focus on maritime and energy security. They agreed to jointly promote these issues – as well as a proposal for the pooling and sharing of EU military resources – at the European Council summit this December.
The discovery of hydrocarbons in Cypriot waters creates new prospects for cooperation between the two countries, Fotiou said after the signing ceremony.
The defence minister noted that the government’s granting of a prospecting license to Italian oil giant ENI was a significant boost to bilateral cooperation.
Fotiou and Mauro decided that their respective ministries would establish working groups tasked with drafting proposals on bilateral energy security collaboration.
The two ministers also discussed Cyprus’ intention to apply for membership of the Partnership for Peace (PfP), a a programme of practical bilateral cooperation between individual Euro-Atlantic partner countries and NATO.
Mauro said Nicosia’s bid to join Pfp had the backing of Italy, a NATO member.