The National Guard is set to introduce electronic surveillance on the Green Line to avoid illegal crossings from the north, Defence Minister Charalambos Petrides said on Thursday.

He was speaking as he joined President Nicos Anastasiades on a visit to the Aronas National Guard post on the outskirts of Nicosia.

The minister also reassured of the National Guard’s full compliance with the current Covid-19 measures, increased due to the spread of the Omicron variant.

“We are in the midst of a pandemic and we all have to obey the health protocols during our activities in Cyprus, as well as abroad,” he said.

Anastasiades meanwhile expressed his gratitude to the National Guard for its service to the island.

“I want to convey our country’s best wishes to all of you, especially because through your service you protect the integrity of our island.

“I have said it in the past and I will repeat it today. We are not a force that has aggression as its primary intent. We are a defensive force that first and foremost uses deterring methods to protects its citizens,” Anastasiades said.

The President added that the government, as well as the National Guard, is working “in a creative way” to prevent Turkey from doing what unfortunately has been doing for a long time in the Eastern Mediterranean region.

“I consider it my duty to appeal to our Turkish Cypriot compatriots, calling on them to realise that we are all suffering because of the situation, both Greek Cypriots and them for having to leave their ancestral homes.”

He called for 2022 to be the year of reunification, the creation of a state that is functional and viable, that respects human rights of all as a European state.