Lieutenant-general Elias Leontaris was sworn in on Friday as the new National Guard commander, replacing Georgios Basiakoulis.
Speaking during the ceremony, President Nicos Anastasiades said as long as Turkish troops remained in Cyprus, it was the National Guard’s main duty to ensure that its citizens lived in peace and security.
He pointed out that despite the talks, which aim to reunify the island, divided since the Turkish invasion of 1974, the presence of the Turkish occupying troops “unfortunately constitutes a permanent threat.”
Anastasiades also spoke of the reforms underway in the National Guard, whose structure has changed recently with the recruitment of 3,000 soldiers.
It has become a “modern, flexible, and well-trained force,” he said.
On his part, Leontaris, a Greek national, assured that he will use his knowledge and experience to continue the work of his predecessors in the National Guard, adding that he will cooperate with all government departments to upgrade the National Guard’s role and to maintain high operational readiness.