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Cyprus and UK sign MoU on defence and security

Defence Minister Savvas Angelides (right) and his British counterpart Gavin Williamson

CYPRUS and the UK on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to enhance their defence and security cooperation.

The MoU was signed in London by defence minister Savvas Angelides and his British counterpart Gavin Williamson.

It agrees on “strengthening the existing deep defence links between the two nations” and is “designed to help address common defence and security challenges and build on existing partnerships and shared interests in areas such as training, capability development and crisis planning,” according to a British government statement.

“The MoU will also help generate and support new opportunities for multilateral security training with our regional partners,” the statement added.

Williamson said of Cyprus that it “is a valued partner and friend, and through signing this agreement we have reinforced our already close ties across defence for years to come”.

He added that British bases in Cyprus are “a vital asset in our fight against Daesh with Typhoon and Tornado fighter jets that were instrumental in the territorial defeat of the terrorist group in Syria flying out of RAF Akrotiri.”

The MoU also provides for enhanced military staff cooperation, training of Cypriot officers at British military academies, as well as synergies in research and development, armaments programmes and cyber-security.

For his part, Angelides said that agreements like the one signed with the UK “confirm other nations’ recognition of the fact that Cyprus is a pillar of stability in the eastern Mediterranean.”

Earlier, on Wednesday, Angelides spoke at a conference hosted by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), which touts itself as “the world’s oldest independent think tank on international defence and security.”

The MoU with the UK widens the web of bilateral defence and security pacts Cyprus has entered into over the past two years.

Last month Cyprus and Germany agreed to boost their cooperation in relation to projects within the framework of the EU’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (Pesco).

And earlier this year, the government confirmed that it will expand the Mari naval base so that it can accommodate French military vessels.

In October 2016 Nicosia and Paris signed the Franco-Cypriot Strategic Agenda, covering security and defence, as well as economic, educational and cultural cooperation

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