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Defence minister cites Turkish threat in call for more spending

File photo of national guardsmen during an exercise

The defence minister has called for Cyprus to boost spending – currently at almost half a billion euros – and secure new equipment in light of what he described as Turkey’s inflexible and increasingly hostile attitude.

Charalambos Petrides made the case for increased security spending as he presented his ministry’s 2022 budget at the parliamentary finance committee on Monday.

He detailed a budget of €470m for 2022 which is a slight decrease of €12.3m from the previous year. Petrides noted however that there was a supplementary budget for defence which amounted to €44.7m, which he expects to continue into 2022.

Petrides also presented a long-term and wide-ranging plan for the defence forces, seeking to address issues such as a lower annual intake of conscripts and outdated systems.

He said that one of the measures to be looked at is simplifying and updating the legislative framework to prevent young men dodging conscription. He did note however that the annual rate of those not fulfilling their army duties had fallen from 7.5 per cent to 2.7 per cent since national service was reduced to 14 months.

But Petrides also stated that the annual intake for the army has fallen, primarily to due Cyprus’ decreasing birth rate, which has left the forces with 950 fewer conscripts per year.

The defence minister further said that deepening ties with other nations is a top priority for the National Guard, citing its cooperation with Egypt, UAE, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Britain, and others.

He highlighted the importance of closer ties with the US and pushing for greater EU strategic autonomy.

 

 

 

 

 

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