France’s minister for armed forces will meet on Tuesday with President Nicos Anastasiades and Defence Minister Savvas Angelides as the third joint exercise between the National Guard and French forces from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, which is in the region, began on Monday morning.
The aircraft carrier is due to dock in Limassol on Friday for five days. President Nicos Anastasiades, other government and military officials and members of the diplomatic corps are due to attend a formal reception to be held on Saturday aboard the ship.
Florence Parly was due in Cyprus on Monday night. She is scheduled to visit the aircraft carrier later on Tuesday and leave Cyprus in the evening.
Angelides attended the start of the joint exercise ‘Talos 1 – 2020’ on Monday where reports said full air defence systems were employed in a virtual scenario where Cyprus is under air attack
“What we have seen today is an example of France’s tangible cooperation with the Republic of Cyprus,” Angelides said, adding that more such drills would be taking place with France. He also referred to continuing efforts at all levels to demonstrate Cyprus’ role in the wider region.
“Today was the first phase of the joint exercise with France aimed at attacking virtual targets,” he said. He said Cyprus’ air defence system had now been integrated.
France, he said, was a concrete example of the close cooperation Cyprus has with countries at a military level, especially when national guardsmen have the opportunity to be trained at such a high level.
Angelides said he expected to discuss with Parly the issue of further cooperation between the two countries in the field of security and defence. “We will have the opportunity to exchange views on the risk assessment for the region,” he added.
In recent weeks and months Cyprus has made several moves on the defence and security fronts, particularly with the purchase of missiles from France worth a reported €240 million, in addition to Angelides’ visit to Israel to broaden ties with the neighbouring nation, and joint military exercises with regional countries.
Also, on Sunday, the Cyprus navy’s new vessels The Poseidonas 1 and the Nireas 1 were presented to the public in an event held at the old port of Limassol. Chief of the navy Commodore Charalambos Charalambous said the aim was to make everyone aware of the importance of the sea to “the survival of our country and its contribution to our economic growth and to understand our difficulties in a changing environment”.
The new vessels are Italian speedboats made in 2019 and upgraded to the standards of the underwater disaster unit.