By Constantinos Psillides
DEFENCE minister Photis Photiou is going ahead with plans to reduce military service from 24 months to 14 and implementing a plan to modernise the National Guard, according to a Ministry source.
Photiou is expected to present his plan to the House Defence Committee next Thursday, discuss any changes and subsequently take it to the cabinet for final approval.
Reactions regarding military service were sparked on Wednesday after the daily “Alithia” reported that decisions regarding military service were imminent.
Although Photiou hasn’t officially confirmed the report, deputy DISY leader Lefteris Christoforou expressed his satisfaction that things are moving forward with reforming the armed forces. “We, as a party, fully support the minister’s plans to modernise the army and will support any proposals that will lead to reducing military service,” he said, adding that the time has come to modernise the National Guard.
Defence committee chairman George Varnava told reporters that committee members are more than willing to discuss any proposals regarding the army and military service but made clear than nothing had been put before them yet.
“We are willing to discuss, provided that the proposal wont undermine the National Guard in any way”, he said.
Reducing military service was a key point of president Anastasiades’ election campaign. After the first cabinet meeting on March 2013, Anastasiades told the press that his aim was to “fully modernise and restructure the National Guard, in an attempt to create a flexible, semi-professional army, with a 14-month term of duty.”