Defence Minister Charalambos Petrides called Austria “a great ally” on Wednesday during the visit of the country’s Federal Minister of Defence Klaudia Tanner, who he thanked for its long-standing commitment and contribution to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (Unficyp).
“Austria’s contribution is nowadays more important than ever, given the increasing provocations by the Turkish occupation forces along the ceasefire line,” Petrides said.
Tanner said Austria has supported Unficyp since its establishment in 1964.
“Our task was to prevent further fighting and to restore order on the island in cooperation with other states. More than 17,000 Austrian soldiers were deployed in this mission and Austria continues its support, although today with a smaller force,” Tanner said.
The two defence ministers also discussed Turkey’s escalating provocations and illegal activities in relation to Varosha and Rizokarpaso as well as in Cyprus’ exclusive economic and maritime zones.
“Blatantly disregarding the calls by the international community, Turkey continues with its plans to create new faits accompli on the ground. The international community cannot remain idle,” Petrides said.
We fully support the position of Cyprus, Tanner said. “The territorial sovereignty of a state must not be violated under any circumstances and any action in this regard is a violation of international laws.
“Unfortunately, the security situation in Europe has not improved because of new challenges, risks and threats. These have become more complex and more difficult to predict. Peacekeeping missions remain indispensable.”
Other topics discussed included the illegal migration and border security issue, as well as security and defence.