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Cyprus, Greece and Israel strengthen defence cooperation

The defence ministers of Cyprus, Greece and Israel met in Athens on Tuesday to discuss strengthening cooperation to promote security, stability and peace in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Defence Minister Christoforos Fokaides, after attending the first tripartite meeting with his counterparts, said: “Our vision is to gradually turn the wider region from a conflict zone to an area of peace, stability and cooperation.

“The path we embarked on today will prove particularly beneficial for our three countries and will highlight the fact that threats and tension have no place in this region today.”

According to Fokaides, the only path is that of “cooperation, good-neighbourly relations and mutual trust”.

He described the tripartite meeting as another important step the three countries were taking in order to maximise their capabilities.

Defence cooperation was a strategic pillar, especially in a turbulent area with increasing challenges and asymmetric threats, such as terrorism, maritime and energy security and an ongoing humanitarian crisis, Fokaides said.

He added that the tripartite cooperation scheme and other initiatives involving countries from the region aimed at meeting these new security challenges.

“Cyprus, Greece and Israel defend in this volatile and fragile region not just their common interests, but also the interests of Europe and, I would say, those of the international community in general,” the minister said.

Cyprus supported this “axis of stability”, by contributing to the region’s security and by providing a hub for humanitarian operations, he added.

“We will continue to work with consistency and resoluteness to promote our common goals.”

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