RULING party DISY appears to be having second thoughts on spending millions on military hardware right now, when thousands of people are unemployed and others are having a tough time meeting their basic needs.
Sources said the party wants to delay procurement of two Israeli-made naval craft that will be used primarily for patrolling the waters in the Exclusive Economic Zone.
The cost of the boats is €100 million and Cyprus would have to give €25 million as down-payment for the deal to go ahead.
“It would be a bit too much to pay €25 million,” a party source told the Cyprus Mail, speaking on condition of anonymity. “It bothers us even if it is justified.”
The source said the party wanted to push the decision further down the road, to see how the economic situation goes.
Media reports suggested that all parties had initially agreed to release the funds, and DISY’s about turn angered the others.
AKEL is now saying it too does not agree with spending so much money.
MPs would have to decide on some €30 million needed for the maintenance of the army’s Russian-made attack helicopters.
It is understood that that will also be discussed in 2014.
The two Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) will be built from scratch for Cyprus by Israel Shipyards Ltd.
According to Israel Shipyards’ website, the weapon-carrying, ‘combat proven’ OPV performs a wide range of coastal defence, security and law-enforcement missions, including open sea patrol and surveillance, interception of terrorist, smuggling or illegal activities and protection of offshore facilities.