The presence of French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in Cyprus contributes to aims of having a permanent French naval presence in the Eastern Mediterranenan and proves Paris’ will to act as a stabilising factor in the region, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Saturday.
“Undoubtedly, the deployment of France’s major aircraft carrier group to the Eastern Mediterranean region, and in particular here in Cyprus, is another testament of the ongoing, qualitative upgrading of the relationship between Cyprus and France, a country which we consider both as a friend and a partner,” the president said during a visit to the carrier, which is docked in Limassol.
“Cyprus and France have enhanced their relations on multiple levels over the past years and we continue to aspire with the same resolve and determination to further deepen our cooperation, including in the fields of security and defence.”
Anastasiades said Cyprus and France shared the same values, interests and concerns, but also the vision for peace, stability and prosperity in the region.
He said France was not only one of the National Guard’s primary suppliers of arms, “but I am also glad to attest that over the past months we have enhanced our cooperation in the maritime domain, with the execution of joint naval exercises, the adoption of Standard Operating Procedures for maritime surveillance and ongoing efforts to upgrade the Naval Base in Mari.”
Cooperation in the field of energy has also opened new avenues not only for the benefit of both our countries, but also with the potential to significantly contribute to the diversification of energy routes with the aim of ensuring secure, sustainable, affordable and safe energy supply to Europe, the president said.
“Consequently, a frequent French naval presence in the Eastern Mediterranean and in particular within the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus sends a clear message to those that aim to sow instability and tensions in the region.”