British High Commissioner to Cyprus, Stephen Lillie said on Thursday that the UK and Cyprus have a very strong relationship that is getting deeper and wider, noting that defence engagement was an important part of this growing relationship.
Lillie on Thursday visited the Royal Navy flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth docked at Limassol port. He said that the ship “is a visible demonstration of Britain`s commitment to be an active, energetic country of the world stage.”
“We have a very strong relationship between Britain and Cyprus. It is a relationship that is getting deeper and wider. Defence engagement is an important part of that growing relationship and having the Royal Navy flagship here sends a very strong signal that we want to develop that,” he said.
On Wednesday, he added, Cypriot Defence Minister Charalambos Petrides and the Chief of the National Guard, Demokritos Zervakis had visited the ship. “So that is a really good collaboration. They can see for themselves our capabilities,” he said.
Lillie also said that they look forward to welcoming President, Nicos Anastasiades on board.
British Bases Commander Major General Rob Thomson told the media that the arrival of the Queen Elizabeth in Limassol new port underlines the British commitment to the Eastern Mediterranean to make sure that it remains secure and stable.
“Secondly it underlines the importance of our friendship and our partnership with the Republic of Cyprus which is really important to us in so many ways. And thirdly, for the Bases, we have been absolutely fundamental to the delivery of the strike group in this corner of the Mediterranean,” he said. “Not necessarily a very glamorous task but we have been here for logistics, we are here to help them with people issues and that is being really important.”