LARNACA, Cyprus – With a base already in place, the United Kingdom wants a closer security relationship with Cyprus in the fight against ISIS and foreign fighters.
British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon met Aug. 1 with Cyprus’ defense chief Christoforos Fokaides and said that since the beginning of the campaign in September 2014, RAF pilots had flown 2,913 missions, conducting more than 948 strikes in Iraq and Syria.
“They’ve not operated at this sustained operational tempo in a single theatre of conflict for a quarter of a century. Only the US is doing more,” Fallon said, according to the Cyprus Mail.
“We are grateful for the cooperation Cyprus is showing, since without it, it would be much harder to sustain this level of activity. Critically, our campaign is delivering success,” he added.
Fokaides said that he stressed to Fallon the need “to promote partnerships with countries and governments that remain committed in the fight against terrorism, respect international treaties and maintain predictable policies. Policies that promote stability and avoid tensions.
“I also reiterated our vision for a mutual beneficial cooperation between all countries in the region, transforming the Eastern Mediterranean from a zone of conflict and instability, to a region of prosperity and growth, taking advantage of the enormous energy potentials and bringing to an end long – lasting conflicts and problems,” he said.
Fallon said that he had constructive talks with Fokaides, noting that they reflected “on the strength of our relationship.”
He also said that they discussed the two countries` collaboration against Daesh (ISIS), “a further example of the vitality of our Defence and security relationship.”