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Defence Minister says Institute may help build national policy
2005-01-27 10:49:32

Nicosia, Jan 27 (CNA) - Cypriot Minister of Defence Kyriakos Mavronicolas said today that the studies to be carried out by the Strategic Study Institute of his ministry ''could constructively contribute to building a proper national policy and to the general effort to achieve the right solution to the Cyprus problem.''

Addressing the first scientific meeting on ''Security in the Eastern Mediterranean - Challenges and prospects'' that was organised by the Institute in cooperation with the Defence Analysis Institute of the Greek Ministry of Defence, Mavronicolas said it would be good if ''the decisions and views of the meeting and any studies of the Strategic Study Institute were used by the political leadership as well.''

He expressed hope that the Institute would be able to contribute to the future of the Republic of Cyprus, Cypriot Hellenism and the two communities on the island, and would furthermore continue to cooperate with the Greek Institute, to exchange views with similar think-tanks in the EU member states.

Mavronicolas pointed out Cyprus' strategic value in the Eastern Mediterranean, as operational headquarters, an airbase, and a communications and monitoring centre.

National Guard Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Athanasios Nikolodemos said today's meeting would provide food for thought, which could be used to form Cyprus' strategy on security issues.

He noted that ''security was one of the determining factors for which the people of Cyprus rejected the UN plan for a Cyprus settlement'' at a referendum last April.

Chairman of the Greek Institute's board of directors Evangelos Tsirkas pointed out that Ankara's strategy was to maintain the dogma of absolute military superiority in comparison with Athens and Nicosia, adding that Cyprus ''should step into a more aggressive diplomatic presence'' by utilising its unique geostrategic location in the sensitive area of the Eastern Mediterranean and its privileged international status as an EU member state.

Tsirkas said that in this context Cyprus should examine the possibility of joining EU structures and various NATO programmes.

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