Cyprus Mail

First eight national guardsmen off to train in US

US Ambassador Judith Garber with Defence Minister Charalambos Petrides and the national guard officers (PIO)

The US on Thursday welcomed in their Nicosia embassy, the first eight officers from the National Guard who are going to participate in the International Military Education and Training (IMET) programme, offered by the US to Cyprus.

Speaking during a ceremony at the embassy, US Ambassador Judith Garber said that through professional and technical courses, and with specialised instruction, IMET provides valuable training and education to students from partner nations like Cyprus “allowing us to better coordinate our security cooperation.”

She said IMET strengthens international coalitions and partnerships and teaches a common approach to collaborate on global security issues from counter terrorism to cyber security.

“Today really reflects how far US-Cyprus security cooperation has grown”, Garber said and added that the officers would participate in courses at the national defence university and the army war college. There will also be students traveling to the navy postgraduate school for courses in cyber security “reflecting our two countries` shared focus on protecting ourselves from Cyber threats” the Ambassador went on.

Garber said that more and more, the US see that Cyprus` security is essential to protecting critical infrastructure and citizens lives and livelihoods.

“This emerging threat demands that we work together to find another way for protecting our information networks and the courses that some of the officers will be taking, will make this even more possible than it is today,” she added.

IMET, she said was an opportunity to forge professional connections between military officers from the US, Cyprus and from all over the world.

Defence Minister Charalambos Petrides, speaking at the ceremony, said that the participation of National Guard officers in military training programmes and courses through IMET “is indeed a watershed moment for which everyone here today should feel proud.”

“In a few days the first Cypriot officers will travel to the US to attend highly prestigious training courses – the first candidates are here with us today – signalling the beginning of a new era and a very promising chapter in the Cyprus-US relationship. As the State Department recently noted in May 2021 the cooperation between the United States and the Republic of Cyprus is at a historic high,” the minister said.

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