Cyprus Mail

Cyprus and UK establish ‘strategic cooperation’

The two countries pledged to work together on defence education and exercises

The foreign ministries of Cyprus and the United Kingdom have signed a memorandum of understanding, “establishing a strategic cooperation” between the two countries.

The memorandum, signed on Thursday, covers a total of nine areas of interest: foreign and regional policy; defence and security; education; trade and prosperity; maritime affairs; the climate; law enforcement; legal and justice affairs; and consular services.

It was signed by foreign ministry director general Kyriacos Kouros and the British Foreign Office’s director general for Europe Peter Wilson.

On the matter of foreign and regional policy Kouros and Wilson “recalled the breadth of our shared foreign policy objectives and our cooperation in bilateral and multilateral fora over the last 12 months,” the British Foreign Office said.

“The UK and Cyprus have continued to stand in solidarity with Ukraine against Russian aggression. Both countries have enhanced cooperation on sanctions compliance to target those who have enabled sanctioned Russia oligarchs to hide their assets,” they said.

They added that “Cyprus and the UK have taken a robust position in response to the situation in Israel and Gaza, reiterating Israel’s right to self-defence while urging restraint and adherence to international law and international humanitarian law.”

They also made reference to the Cypriot initiative to establish a humanitarian aid corridor between the island and Gaza, and the use of the Estia plan, in which Cyprus acted as a transitory hub for third country nationals fleeing the conflict in Israel-Palestine and Sudan.

They also said there has been a regular exchange of views on developments in in the Eastern Mediterranean, in the wider Middle East, as well as on China and Iran.

“The UK and Cyprus agree that the security and stability of the wider region, on the basis of full respect of international law and the fundamental principles of the UN Charter, is a key common objective and remain committed to engaging pro-actively towards this aim,” they said.

On the matter of defence and security, they said “high-level defence engagement has continued this year focussed on training, education and interoperability, culminating in a renewed bilateral defence cooperation plan,” which was signed in September.

The plan, they said, “sets out our intention to enhance our engagement on defence education, exercises and sharing expertise over the coming year.”

They also promoted future annual meetings between the defence ministers of Cyprus and the UK.

Moving on to the issue of education, Kouros and Wilson “recognised the vital role that education and culture plays in strengthening people to people ties that underpin the bilateral relationship.”

Additionally, in a rather telling move regarding Britain’s view of Brexit, they stressed that “the nature of these ties have changed since the UK exit from the European Union.”

They also said they will “consider approaches to enhance education cooperation, including institutional links between UK and Cypriot universities.”


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