Cyprus Defence Minister Savvas Angelides and his UK counterpart Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson signed a Memorandum of Defence and Security Cooperation in London on Thursday.
The memorandum determines the framework of the long-term development of bilateral defence and security relations and of the exploration of new areas and opportunities to deepen the defence cooperation.
It enhances the existing cooperation with provisions for a number of particular synergies: joint defence exercises; expanded sharing of expertise and logistics collaboration; getting Cypriot officers enrolled in British military schools; joint projects on technology and R&D; cyber-defence, cyber-security and more.
Angelides told the Cyprus News Agency that such memoranda confirm the recognition of Cyprus as a “pillar of stability” in the Eastern Mediterranean region.
“Through targeted synergies the Republic of Cyprus highlights the role it can play in the Eastern Mediterranean so to promote stability in the region. This stability will automatically create peace, security, development and prosperity.
“Today’s signing of the Memorandum of Defence and Security Cooperation with the UK comes as continuation to the substantive upgrade of our cooperation on defence and security with several other countries,” said the Minister.
Angelides also briefed his counterpart on matters such as Cyprus’ energy security.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Cyprus is a valued partner and friend, and through signing this agreement we have reinforced our already close ties across defence for years to come.
“Our bases in Cyprus are a vital asset in our fight against Daesh with Typhoon and Tornado fighter jets that were instrumental in the territorial defeat of the terrorist group in Syria flying out of RAF Akrotiri.
“The UK and Cyprus have a close relationship and over the last few years have increased military co-operation and undertaken several large-scale joint exercises.
“The Sovereign Base Area in Cyprus is a valued security asset to both the UK and our partners, giving us the ability to act swiftly in region when required. Most recently demonstrated in the fight against Daesh where the RAF conducted more than 1700 air strikes that lead to the territorial defeat in Syria.
“Alongside this, the British military currently has approximately 250 people deployed on Op Tosca, the UK contribution to the UN peacekeeping force and HMS Duncan is currently visiting Cyprus and is docked in Limassol as part of the Charles De Gaulle Task Force,” he said.
Later in the day, Angelides visited the National Cyber Security Centre,
During his two-day visit to London the Cypriot Defence Minister also met with British politicians, members of the Commons Defence Select Committee, and members of the populous UK Cypriot community.
He had the opportunity to address an audience of diplomats and defence and security experts at RUSI on the security challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus’s role in tackling them.
He had started his visit by paying his respects to the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain Gregorios.