NICOSIA — As Turkey continues to drill for oil and gas offshore, outmatched Cyprus has signed its first military cooperation agreement with the United Arab Emirates, which had also earlier aligned itself with Greece.
Cyprus has been trying to build its strength too as Turkey keeps a 35,000-strong army on the northern third occupied since an unlawful 1974 invasion and has kept up aggressive talk.
Cyprus already had military agreements with Egypt, Israel and Jordan, and its armed forces held training exercises with the forces of those countries. The nation also has signed a deal to help train the Lebannese Army, said Defense News.
Cyprus’ Defence Ministry said in a statement the agreement will be followed up with joint military maneuvers, training programs and consultations on expanding operational cooperation.
Defence Minister Charalambos Petrides signed the agreement during a teleconference and agreed to meet with his UAE counterpart when the COVID-19 pandemic lessens and it’s safer.
Petrides hailed the agreement as the start of a long, powerful and strategic relationship between the two countries’ defense ministries and armed forces, the report added.
The UAE participated in a large-scale sea and air military exercise off Egypt in November. French, Greek, Egyptian and Cypriot personnel also were involved in the exercises, code-named Medusa.
Petrides said the drill demonstrated the prospects for expanding military cooperation between the UAE and Cyprus.