Cyprus and US relations have never been stronger, Minister of Defence Cyprus Michalis Giorgallas said during the signing ceremony of a State Partnership Program (SPP) between Cyprus and the New Jersey National Guard.
The ceremony took place at the Presidential Palace on Thursday.
The agreement was signed by the Chief of the Cypriot National Guard, Lt. General. Demokritos Zervakis and the Adjutant General of the New Jersey National Guard, Brigadier Lisa J. Hou.
Addressing the ceremony, Giorgallas said that in the past two years, Cyprus has sought to build a close, robust, and mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation with the US.
“Some of the recent highlights and milestone achievements are the accessing of the international educational program of Cypriot officers, the signing of the Acquisition and Cross–Servicing Agreement and of course the lifting of the US arms embargo of lethal and non-lethal materials”, he said.
The Minister also noted that Cyprus is a reliable partner and a facilitator of regional cooperation for promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean region.
“We are always seeking new avenues for cooperation in order to further strengthen this strategic partnership. We are extremely excited about our accession to the state partnership program,” he said.
“We feel privileged that Cyprus is among the new additions to this highly estimated value partnership”, he noted and addressing US partners he said that they should consider Cyprus “as your home away from your home. We are ready to start working closer with you.”
Also addressing the ceremony, US Ambassador to Cyprus Julie D. Fisher said that this programme is one of the most effective security cooperation programs of the US that work in Europe today.
“I am sure that this collaboration will promote our shared values and build resilience for the work on military, security and disaster response means we undertake together. The state partnership program will allow us to share knowledge on a range of issues, including maritime security, counterterrorism and natural disaster response,” she said.
Brigadier Lisa J. Hou, the Adjutant General of the New Jersey National Guard said that Cyprus is a partner of the US that works to promote regional stability, security and prosperity.
Lt. Gen. Demokritos Zervakis noted that this is a significant moment for the history of the National Guard of the Republic of Cyprus. “It is an honour and privilege to be part of this program. Our defence cooperation with the US now includes military education of our officers, important multinational military exercises, training between our special forces and exchange of personnel”, he said.
Finally, he stressed that the partnership with the New Jersey National Guard, ushers in a new era in Cypriot defence and its military cooperation with the US.