Cyprus Defense Minister Visits Israel, Closer Military Ties Seen

Αssociated press

(AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

With Turkish warships trying to block foreign energy companies from reaching Cyprus’ waters where they are licensed to drill for oil and gas, Defense Minister Savas Angelides headed to Israel, which has cooperated in military exercises and wants closer energy ties with the island.

Angelides will meet Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on June 6 talk about more cooperation between their militaries with Cyprus hopelessly outgunned against Turkey, where the nationalist MHP party supporting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in June 24 snap polls put out a video showing Turkey taking over and owning the island that’s been split since an unlawful 1974 invasion.

Cyprus has had good relations with Israel that were closened after meetings between President Nicos Anastasiades and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The meeting between Angelides and Lieberman will pave the way for a trilateral meeting with Greece, where all three defense ministers will meet in Nicosia in late June, Kathimerini Cyprus reported. Last year, Israeli commandos took part in a large land-based joint drill on Cypriot soil, during a weeklong exercise in Troodos mountains.

Israel also was the host for the launch of the first-ever offshore patrol vessel Commodore Andreas Ioannides for Cyprus, with at least two planned under a deal between the countries for military equipment.

Earlier this year, Israeli jets flew over Cyprus to test air defense during the Onisilos-Gideon joint military exercise between the two countries.