Israeli press reports have described the joint military exercise ‘Agapinor-2022’ with the Israeli Defence Forces and the Cyprus National Guard as the Jewish state’s biggest ever in cooperation with a neighbouring country.
The month-long impressive exercise in Cyprus ends later on Thursday but Nicosia’s concerns are rising that ties with Tehran could be jeopardised because of it.
And all this at a time when efforts are underway for the release of a Cypriot sailor onboard a Greek ship held hostage by Iranian authorities, Philenews reports.
That is why the Foreign Ministry in Nicosia issued a statement on Wednesday, clarifying Cyprus’ position on the exercise which Israeli media linked with Tel Aviv’s actions against Hezbollah in Lebanon. But it had also sent warnings to Iran – Israel’s long-standing foe.
In its announcement, the Foreign Ministry differentiated its position from that of Israel sending the message that the exercise’s purpose is defensive and not aggressive.
It specifically said: “The exercise is part of the regular program of Bilateral Defense Cooperation between the Republic of Cyprus and the State of Israel. The purpose of the exercise is to strengthen the defensive readiness of the National Guard.”